Hamlin wins the STP 400 at Kansas
by Roberta Cowan On Sun, Apr. 22, 2012
[media-credit name=”Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]The STP 400 was an entertaining race. There was passing, 14 recorded lead changes. There was side by side racing, at times 3-wide going into one and coming out of four. There were stages of the race when there were different dominate cars. But in the end the dominate car would be the no.11 Fed Ex Toyota of Denny Hamlin. With the win the no.11 passed the no.43 for number of wins the number has achieved with 199.
“I just can’t thank everyone at FedEx enough for putting this together and putting me in the driver’s seat. Great day for our race team — the pit crew did amazing there on that green flag pit stop. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) made a great call to bring me in one lap early and just a great team effort today. This has been a great weekend and we just had a solid car all week,” said Hamlin.
Martin Truex Jr. was the dominate car and basically walked the dog on the field. MWR’s Napa Toyota, was pulling the dominate horses of the HMS camp down the straight-aways by 7-8 car lengths. But in the end he would finish a disappointing second. “ What can I say about this team? All the NAPA guys have done a nice job — MWR, Toyota — everybody’s put a lot into this and it’s fun to drive these race cars. Just disappointed right now. We had them. I don’t know what happened with that last set of tires, they were terrible. I couldn’t go at all — was just dead sideways, wrecking. At the end of the run, I was back to being okay again, but by then he (Denny Hamlin) had already passed me and clean air is everything.” said Truex Jr with noticeable disappointment in his voice.
The no.48 of Jimmie Johnson was coming. He was coming all day. He would get there and have to pit. He would come back and have to pit. His timing just appeared to be slightly off and left him with a third place finish. “This week it doesn’t register. To me last week at Texas, the week before Martinsville or to lead a lot of laps at Martinsville and have our cars lead one, two, three and not get the victory, to get the most laps and today to get near the end and not close the deal does sting. Today we ran well but we weren’t a dominant car and kind of finished where we should have. Today doesn’t bother me. Sure, I’d love to wise. If things would’ve played out different at the end, maybe we could’ve put two on while the other guys were putting four, something, just trying to give us some options. I don’t think it affected our finish. We got basically back to where we were. I think I was ahead of the 11 but the 11 was real strong that last run and went up there and got the win.”
It was another disappointing day for the 5 car of Kasey Kahne. As a matter of fact, it is beginning to look like Kasey Kahne couldn’t cut a break with a knife. That poor man has done everything but stand on his head and if it can go wrong it has gone wrong. But for once it turned around late in the race and Kasey logged a top ten finish. Finishing 8th.
The no.88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr gave another inspiring performance with a very very strong run. Finishing 7th. Earnhardt Jr is showing consistency this year that we haven’t seen from him in his career. Earnhardt is 4th in the points just 21 points out of first.
A couple of observations that I would like to make about this weeks race. The first, the National anthem is played at every race to pay tribute to our country and our heritage. The number of drivers and crew members that were flatly disrespectful to both was a disgrace. If you can’t show respect for the flag of the country that gives you the freedom to do what you do, then perhaps you should find somewhere else to do what you do perhaps Bahrain.
Second, the STP 400 was a cool windy day. It was a really nice day compared to what it could have been in Kansas in April. The early year date was made necessary due to the repaving project that will begin at the conclusion of this race. Frankly there has been snow in Kansas in April in the past. It was discussed whether this would be one of those years. But the very warm winter prevented that from happening. The weather goddess smiled down on the Kansas Speedway. It was overcast. It was windy. It was a little chilly. But it was dry and it was race worthy. The constant complaints of it was cold were so annoying. Frankly, the dirt track racers in the area raced with temperatures much lower than the what the cup cars had and they were just happy and glad to be racing.
Darrell Waltrip needs to quit. He has no idea what is going on in those cars. Anymore than the announcers of his day knew what was going on his car. To claim that a driver just made an evasive move like going to the apron of the track because he was bored is ludicrous and an insult to his audience. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure that everyone knows what the world disabled means. I didn’t need nor did anyone else an explanation of what a disabled cylinder means.
The taking up of the race surface began just one short hour after the checkered flag waved. When the teams return here in October it will be to a sleek slick black new asphalt surface with progressive banking and an infield road course. Many of the drivers weren’t happy until the surface in the first turn started chunking. At that point it was obvious that there was no choice and the track officials knew exactly what they were doing and were doing the right thing. It’s a changing of era’s. A new phase of growth to begin. Kansas is growing up. She is laying claim to her champions and picking her favorites. It will be exciting to see if her new surface likes the same style of driver as her old one. Or will it prefer a more aggressive driver? Will it take a strong hand and a stronger will to conquer her in the future.
Congratulations to Denny Hamlin on his win in the STP 400. Congratulations to James Beuscher on his win in the NCWTS race at Kansas. Congratulations to Sammy Swindell on his victory in the WoO on Friday and Craig Dollansky on his win on Saturday. Congratulations to Tony Stewart on his victory on Saturday night at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska. Congratulations to Tracey Hines on his USAC Sprint Car win at Eldora Speedway.
To all the competitors in all the series thanks for giving us everything you have to give, you are our heroes. Most importantly, thanks to all the families who shared their loved ones with us so we could cheer our favorite driver and favorite teams. You are the true heroes of the sport and we are forever in your debt.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|STP 400, Kansas Speedway|
|2||6||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||44|
|7||7||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||37|
|19||10||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||0|
|39||38||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||5|