[media-credit name=”Ed Coombs” align=”alignright” width=”231″][/media-credit]If you are not a real NASCAR fan, but the kind who doesn’t know a Harvick from a Hamlin, who seeks wrecks not racing, who can’t tick off the boys who have won a race this season, then Kansas probably was not for you. All that venue featured was racing, where positions changed, drivers moved up and fell back, and where the biggest wow moments involved an engine going south.
In the end, Denny Hamlin moved past Martin Truex Jr with 30 laps to go and stayed gone to pick up his second victory of the campaign. Those in the Top Ten in the standings, for the most part, finished among the best last Sunday. Those that didn’t were the pair from Stewart-Haas, with Tony Stewart (13th) and Ryan Newman (20th) not having the best of days, while Kasey Kahne (8th) and Kyle Busch (10th) did as they eye Richmond this Saturday night. Mr. Busch especially so.
One thing fans of the sport notice as we go along is that the best cars during the season tend to be the same that finish up front week after week. It still is a might too early to get all that excited as to who is in and who is not in a Chase place, but Jeff Gordon is 49 out after yet another disappointing run last week. 21st was not where he wanted to be Sunday. Mind you, pick up a win, as Brad Keselowski did at Bristol, and it don’t matter where you are in the standings. Okay, it probably would be better to have two or three victories before one gets too comfortable.
They leave the speedways behind this weekend as they settle in to the 3/4 mile tri-oval that is known as Richmond International Speedway. A dozen races have come and gone since Ford last was in Victory Lane. Kevin Harvick won there last fall for the Bowtie gang, breaking up the Toyota tandem of Kyle Busch (3 wins) and Hamlin (2) who had that venue all to themselves the previous five events. It has been awhile since Jimmie Johnson won his last of three, while even Dale Earnhardt Jr won his second ever Cup race there back in 2000. He has won a couple more there since but, like Johnson and fellow three-time winner Tony Stewart, Junior has not done so lately.
It has been quite some time since Jeff Gordon won there. However, in combing through the stats Gordon has the third best points record at the track over the past five years. In ten races, he has pulled in eight Top Tens. At least there is hope this Saturday night.
However, the smart money would probably be on Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin coming through. Again. Have I ever mentioned that Denny is one of my favorite drivers? No? There might be a reason for that. Enjoy the week.