Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) STP 400 at Kansas Speedway was won by polesitter Matt Kenseth. This was Kenseth’s second win and the fourth top ten finish for Kenseth since joining Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Kenseth lead four times for 163 laps.
Kenseth held off a hard charging Kasey Kahne by 0.150 seconds in the 3 hour race. “It’s funny, we had a big time softball game last week and we were talking about it a little bit. He’s (Kasey Kahne) finished second to us a couple times. Man, I really thought he had me and our car started getting loose into turn three and I got really loose getting into three with about five (laps) to go. I actually did it twice in a row and thought we were going to get beat.”
Second Place Kasey Kahne stated that his car felt good all weekend and that they only made a few small changes. Kahne credited the track as being “really fast for our cars.” This was Kahne’s sixth top ten finish in 12 races at Kansas and his fifth top ten in 2013. “I felt really good. I thought we were pretty decent yesterday in practice, so today we started 28th and just had to really had to take our time. I felt the cars were really edgy at the start and took a while. But as the race went on we made some good adjustments, the track rubbered in pretty nicely and we made our way up to the front. It was a good race for us. We were very close at the end battling with Matt. Felt like Vegas all over again. Just kinda of felt like really similar to that in how I could catch him but couldn’t really do anything once I got close. It made my car a little bit looser.”
Third Place went to five time champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson posted his 12th top 10 finish in 14 races at Kansas Speedway and maintained his points lead by 37 points over Kahne. “We had a strong performance, solid on pit road. I think Chad’s strategy today was flawless. About two stops from the end we started to get a little tight , and it was the first time I was tight so we probably didn’t react as much as we should have, just trying to be cautious because the car was so loose at other times in the race. And it just lacked a little bit there at the end,” said Johnson.
Fourth Place was Martin Truex Jr. “I was so loose going into turn three all day with that wind. I tried everything and the only thing I could do was creep in there nice and straight to the white line. Otherwise, it would just try to spin out. I think some of it was the wind and I think a lot of it is just that it’s a lot warmer today than it was all weekend in practice, ” revealed Truex Jr.
Fifth Place was Clint Bowyer who says the keys were in track position. “This track is slick, it’s treacherous. You have to stay in track position. I was proud of Brian Pattie, his strategy and the way he called the race was great. Kept us up front for the most part. All those restarts were crazy. It got pretty wild there for me. I slipped up and got loose in and about got into Biffle and ruined our day. All in all, top five finish at home for our 5 hour energy Toyota – I will take it and go on.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the highest finishing rookie in 11th. Stenhouse commented, “It was fun. We started up front, ran up front, lost our track position and then got it back and was able to lead some laps. We pitted under green and it really got us when the caution came out, but, all in all, I think we can take a lot of positives from this weekend. We were fast in practice, fast in qualifying and made the car better through the race and that’s what it’s all about is making your car better throughout the race and I think we did that today. The Zest Ford Fusion was the one to beat there at the end, but we didn’t have the track position to finish it off.”
The race had eight caution flags for 40 laps with eight leaders and 13 lead changes. The most notable being an incident involving Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. “I watched the 18. He was spinning out and I saw it the whole time. I saw he got loose and thought, ‘Ok he’s gonna come back across,’ and he didn’t. It looked like he was gonna stay up there because he kind of slapped the wall with the right side after he hit it the first time, so I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna gun it and get by him here,’ and as soon as I committed to that I saw him start coming back down. At that point you’re just lined up to him and hit him a ton. I’m fine. It’s just unfortunate for the AAA guys. They deserve better than that. We were working hard on getting our car better. We weren’t gonna gain many points this weekend, but we were gonna try to rally for the best possible finish we could get out of it. But it’s not good for us “
Kyle Busch commented, “Spun twice on our own. Just don’t know what to do with Kansas.” When asked about the lack of grip on the surface, Busch responded, “Yeah, absolutely no grip, for me anyways. But, you know you are running third and doing fine, car a little tight and you spin out. I don’t know what to do with that and then we’re back in traffic all day. Traffic is way worse. Just trying to get back up to the front and making some gains, but car just snaps out from under you in every corner.”
Post race inspection is all clear there were no issues.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|STP 400, Kansas Speedway|
|4||7||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||41|
|11||3||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #||Ford||34|
|16||23||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||29|
|25||25||10||Danica Patrick #||Chevrolet||19|
|27||19||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||17|
|33||37||32||Timmy Hill #||Ford||11|
|37||4||12||Sam Hornish, Jr.(i)||Ford||0|