STP 400 at Kansas Speedway Race Capsule
The Scoop: Matt Kenseth, winner at Kansas last Fall, barely edges Kasey Kahne and wins his 2nd race of the season and becomes the 3rd-straight driver to win from pole. Drivers spin left and right on the tricky Kansas Speedway layout, including Kyle Busch, whose 2nd spin of the day collects former teammate Joey Logano. The crash demolished both cars. A caution during the beginning of a late pit sequence trapped rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (who had his fastest race of 2013), Dale Earnhardt Jr., and others a lap down, forcing them to take wave-arounds. Brad Keselowski, in his first race since the penalty sledgehammer fell on Penske Racing, started poorly, got rear-ended on Busch's first spin on lap four, had the tail light panel of his No. 2 fly off (causing the caution that trapped other drivers a lap down), but rebounded to finish 6th. Kahne started the race poorly, but clawed up to the 2nd position, falling just short of Kenseth, but almost catching him in a repeat of their last lap duel at Las Vegas in March (Kenseth won then, too).
140 Characters or less: Kenseth wins Kansas from pole barely over Kahne, other JGR cars wreck. Johnson and Keselowski rebound strong. Kahne now p2 in pts.
Handsome Boy Modeling School Stud of the Race: Kasey Kahne - Hendrick Motorsports car were off all weekend, but race day came around and all four teams gained speed. Kahne was the class of the bunch, climbing from starting 27th, to almost beating Kenseth. Kahne caught Kenseth in the closing laps, but couldn't make the pass for the win, mirroring their duel and result from last month's Las Vegas race. He didn't lead any laps, but does move to 2nd in points, one marker ahead of Keselowski.
North Korean Missile Dud: Kyle Busch - The dude just doesn't have a handle at Kansas Speedway. He spun twice Sunday, scraped the wall in practice Friday, and had multiple problems in Saturday's Truck Series race. Busch likes to run wide open and the tricky banks at Kansas just seem to bite him more often than others. Sunday's second crash sent the No. 18 team home packing on lap 102 with a 38th-place finish.
Never Fear, Underdogs Are Here: David Gilliland - Front Row Motorsports really hasn't made up much ground from a year ago, but while teammate David Ragan struggled, Gilliland and FRM's 3rd driver Josh Wise raced around the track inside the top 30. Gilliland ran competitively with some of the big teams and ended the day 23rd. Wise, a start-and-park driver in most of races he's run, finished 26th - his best career finish.
You Can Come Back, But You Can't Stay Here: Brad Keselowski - The No. 2 started 33rd, got rear-ended on the lap 4 caution, and pitted twice to repair damage. He got off of pit road just as the restart began and leader Kenseth quickly lapped him. Keselowski eventually took a wave-around, then got off pit sequence again to get in the top 5. But the body repair came undone and the left rear of the Miller Lite Ford looked like a can opener took to it. That sent the 2012 champ back deep in the top 20. But he and team shook that off and drove to an impressive 6th-place finish.
Wheel of Misfortune: Joey Logano and Casey Mears - Both got caught completely up in other drivers' messes. A spinning Kyle Busch somehow collected Logano on the apron and destroyed their cars. Ambrose's spin collected Sam Hornish Jr. and caused Mears to spin to avoid it. Hornish Jr.'s car nailed Mears'. Mears continued, but NASCAR parked him for not meeting the minimum speed.
Head Scratcher Crown of Thorns: Jamie McMurray - He could get an Underdog award, too, for rebounding from this. McMurray and Mark Martin (among others) both gained track position by not pitting during a mid-race caution. On the restart, Martin pulled inside to pass on the apron and McMurray drove across his nose to block. The contact almost spun his No. 1 McDonald's Chevy and sent it all the way from 2nd to about 31st. McMurray, who had been fast all weekend, rebounded to finish 7th and Martin stuck it out to finish 9th.
Ghost Driver: Tony Stewart - He finished 21st, but rarely got above about 16th or 17th. Speed is lacking at Stewart-Haas Racing and Stewart's lack of performance is the biggest example of that. Yes, his team has had some rotten luck this year (see: Daytona and Bristol), but he has led only one race this year (18 laps a month ago at Fontana) and has only one top 10. I'm reading Stewart's 11-year-old autobiography now. I should tell 2002 Tony about 2013 Tony - the results would be ugly. He is not shy to pull the trigger on personnel, if he or his teams are lacking speed.
Georgia On My Mind: David Ragan started 26th, got up to about 21st, but fell back. He ended the day 30th, five laps down.
Truck Series wrap: The Camping World Truck Series ran at Kansas in Saturday's SFP 250. Matt Crafton continued ThorSport's great 2013 start, notching his 3rd-career win in NCWTS. He held off Joey Coulter and Ryan Blaney at the finish, in a race filled with wrecks. There were nine cautions, due to crashes and nine trucks retired from the race, after crashing. Among the carnage was Kyle Busch wrecking twice (once at the hands of former KBM driver German Quiroga), Miguel Paludo while racing for the lead, and Todd Bodine crashing yet again this season. Georgia drivers had problems, too, with John Wes Townley (32nd) and Max Gresham (25th) both crashing out and Ryan Sieg (29th) blowing a motor.
Next: The NCWTS is off until Charlotte next month, but both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race Richmond on Saturday and Friday nights. Denny Hamlin hopes to return to the No. 11 Toyota at his home track in Saturday's Cup race.
And if you love short track racing and want to see some in person, head up to Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA Saturday night. The Southern Supers Series will run the Racing Radios 125 pres. by Schoenfeld Headers. I get the honor of helping announce the action and would love to see you there. Get all the info on RaceGMP.com and on GMP's Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube feeds.