NASCAR @ Kansas Speedway

2016 GoBowling400_NASCAR Kansas

GoBowling 400 @  Kansas Speedway | May 07, 2016 | 7:30PM EDT
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval race track in Kansas City, Kansas. It was built in 2001, and it currently hosts two annual NASCAR race weekends.


17-20° banking in the turns, 10° banking on the front-stretch, 5.5° banking on the backstretch.
2.37-mile (6 turn) Road Course throughout the infield.
Track Record, Kevin Harvick 197.621 MPH (Oct. 2014)
Grandstands seat approximately 64,000 fans.
Kansas Speedway becomes the seventh largest city in Kansas on a NASCAR race weekend. [1]

Kansas Speedway 2

MRN Preview: practice during the daytime, race at night.  Weather conditions change, so drivers have to ‘keep up with the track’ as the potential to get ‘loose’ exists with the new model tires & low-downforce package. ‘Track-bar adjustments’ could be crucial in the pits. ‘Top groove’ is favorable with the rubber laid this week according to Matt Kenseth #20.  Drivers will use the whole track, from ‘white line to wall.’

Top drivers without a win so far in 2016 according to MRN: Martin Truex Jr #78, Joey Logano #22, Dale Earnhardt Jr #88, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch #41 just to name five.  Danica Patrick #10 to name six, is my thought.

Patrick is a big reason NASCAR has SAFER Barriers.  The Steel and Foam Energy Reduction System (SAFER barrier) at Kansas Speedway is made of steel tubes and pads with energy-absorbing foam attached to the track’s concrete retainer walls.

The total 1.28 miles of SAFER walls around Kansas Speedway is the longest length at any of the tracks with SAFER walls on the NASCAR circuit.  Our society instinctively values the safety of women, so the male drivers get the benefit of SAFER barriers with Danica Patrick in NASCAR.

Danica Patrick @ Talladega 2016

NASCAR Safety Fixes:

1) Heavy penalties for wrecking.  Multiple race suspension, followed by a season, then expulsion.
2) Reduce maximum speeds to 150 MPH, with either restrictor plates or more ‘stock car’ engineering.
3) Reduce the field to 30 cars. This is obviously controversial, but for better racing it’s what’s needed. Get the 10 worst drivers off the track and there will be a lot less wrecking, and a lot better racing.  Sponsors will figure the money out.

Those are the lessons of Talladega.  Even “King” Richard Petty refused to race at this track due to safety concerns, back when it opened. [2]   Hardcore enthusiasts say, “remove the restrictor plates.”   Watch below and observe what happens if drivers run without a restrictor plate (210 MPH) at a super-speedway:

#########   BACK TO KANSAS   ###########

Pole Position: Kansas

Pole position: Toyota’s starting 1-2-3; Truex, Kenseth, Denny Hamlin #11.  Kansas is Carl Edwards’ #99 home track.  Jimmie Johnson #48 starts 15th, Tony Stewart #14 16th, Dale, Jr  22nd and Danica Patrick 23rd.  The race is 267 laps, 85 degrees and clear at the start.

6:38 PM when George Brett (KCR–  3B) announces: “Drivers, start your engines!”

Drivers start at the bottom of the track and move up with tire fall-off around 15-20 laps into their green-flag run.  Truex has the fastest car early, with Toyota running strong (again) early.

‘Debris on the race track’ in turn 4 from Kurt Busch #41, brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap 22.  Everybody into the pits.  Chassis adjustments all-around. Four tires vs. two.  A tire gets loose, and rolls across pit road onto the grass.  It’s from Casey Mears #13 team, caused by Brad Keselowski #2, so no penalty.  More insanity ensues…

Dale Jr. is assessed a pit road speeding penalty, so it’s to the back of the field for him. Kasey Kahne #5 is already back into the pits again, with handling issues.  Danica Patrick restarts 25th.

MRN: “Toyota juggernaut at the front of the field.”

Two tires is the better early strategy.  Jamie McMurray #1 is black flagged for an illegal right-rear fender adjustment.  He loses two laps under green flag.  MRN: “NASCAR sees all and busted Jamie McMurray.”  Kyle Busch #18 is now the race leader.  Note: Kurt (SHR) & Kyle Busch (JGR) are brothers.

Lap 57 or so: second caution flag, no one knows why?  MRN cuts to a commercial.  Big break for Jamie McMurray getting the ‘wave around.’  He’s only one lap down now, and everyone else is back on the lead lap.  Almost magical the way this happens in NASCAR.  As Tony Stewart has pointed out in the past, races can be controlled by manipulating the timing of caution flags.

Right-side damage with smoking tires for Greg Biffle #16, into the pits for two tires and sheet metal work.  Trevor Bayne #6 has left-rear tire damage, runs a few more laps falling way back, then finally comes into the pits for a new tire and body work to eliminate the tire rub.  His crew chief advised him to stay out.  Bayne needs to know (by feel), and insist on pulling in right away, even under green.

Lap 80: Truex, Jr is the leader again, Danica Patrick running around 30th.  Carl Edwards hits the wall, then misses the entry into pit road and has to run another lap at 40 MPH with a flat tire.  Too much speed (not under control), and he loses 3 laps.  Thirty minutes from sunset in KC, as they go under the lights.  The track is starting to cool.  Air pressure (tires) and wedge adjustments (rear suspension) in the pits. [3]


Lap 103: (race sponsor) message to NASCAR fans– “keep bowling alive.”  Danica Patrick now a lap down in 26th.  Everyone into the pits.  Jimmie Johnson #48 has an extended stay on pit road to adjust his left-front shocks.  Bowling is the #1 participation sport in America  according to Tom Martino, bowling spokesperson…

Tom Martino

Lap 107: caution flag.  Kevin Harvick #4 loses a lug nut, back into the pits for him.  NASCAR cameras reveal all, to those who get to see it.  Harvick (SHR) was running 2nd.  Back to green, it’s Truex leading.  Patrick 25th, back on the lead lap.

Lights are on, track is really cooling down.  Condensation.  Cooler, darker run to the finish. Track gets looser.  ‘Splitter’ on the front-end holds the car onto the track better than in the past.  Low-down force package. Highly technical stuff.

Lap 126: Toyota running 1-2 Truex & Kenseth.  Carl Edwards now 1 lap down.  Danica Patrick 25th.  Chris Buescher #34 is 26th, the last car on the lead lap.  Buescher is a rookie who got flipped & rolled at Talladega last week.  Welcome to NASCAR son.

Chris Buescher

Mid-race update: Sunset at 8:17 local time. Kyle Busch led 32 laps early, has fallen to 6th. Truex still leads and clearly has the fastest car.  Joe Gibbs Racing is the dominant Sprint Cup team again.  When the Chase gets down to 4 cars, it might be all JGR drivers if Truex is included.  Kyle Petty mentioned that on NASCAR America the second or third week of the season, and he’s right.

Kyle Petty_NASCAR America

Lap 152: Only 20 cars now on the lead lap. Patrick running 25th.  Longest green-flag run in weeks for NASCAR Sprint Cup.   Everyone into the pits under green; fuel & 4 tires, lots of wedge adjustments!  Danica Patrick stayed out longest and led 2 laps under green.

Sunoco pitchman Dennis (Hitch?) of the Kansas ‘corn commission’ (lobby for more ethanol in gasoline) greets the listeners.  Sunoco has been NASCAR’s official fuel sponsor for 12 years running.  Big corn’s message includes an “expanded market in the fuel business.”  No discussion of ethanol’s destructive effects on consumer engines, GMOs or global warming.  [4]

Lap 168: Caution flag #4, debris on the track.  Truex leading, Patrick 25th one lap down. Eighteen cars on the lead lap.  Leaders are split on pitting.  Restart at lap 173.  Twenty laps later, it’s 3 Toyota’s running top 3 with Truex, Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth.  Only 18 cars on the lead lap.  Carl Edwards 21st, Danica Patrick 22nd–  69 laps to go.

Those who pitted on lap 170 (under caution) are now at the advantage as green flag scheduled pit stops are coming up.  Those who went into the pits may gain a lap on those who stayed out– who now must pit.  Jimmie Johnson comes in when his ‘fuel window’ to the finish opens, and he gets a final chassis adjustment.  He’s a great (smart) driver, the best in modern NASCAR– IMO.

Martin Truex who led for 214 laps, is now in for an extended pit stay.  Right-front wheel loose, with a bolt caught between the brake caliper & wheel hub.  (Bad) Brad Keselowski #2 & Tony Stewart now running 1-2.

Lap 222: Stewart leading until he has to pit.  ‘Smoke’ is picking up bonus points to get into the top 30 for the Cup Chase.  This is his third race of the season, since returning from his dune buggy accident where he injured his back.  This is his final season as one of the greatest all-around drivers ever– the ‘people’s champion’ in many respects.

Tony Stewart #14

Lap 229: Danica Patrick running 21st, two laps down.  Kyle Busch now the race leader. ‘Loose in, tight off’ most of the day for Joey Logano now running 8th.  Caution flag out for ‘debris on the track’ on lap 233, from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. #17.  Pit stops (likely to determine the race winner) in progress…MRN cuts to a commercial.  Richard Petty loves bowling, it’s a great family activity…

Various strategies: four tires for most, for some it’s a 2-tire stop.  Controversially, Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth stay out and are labelled ‘sitting ducks’ at the head of the field.

Thirty laps to go at the restart:  Jimmie Johnson busted for speeding on pit road.  MRN notes that Denny Hamlin has received the most pit-road penalties tonight.  Under the lights on Saturday night…

Matt Kenseth gets the bum rush on older tires at the restart, quickly losing track position. JGR teammate Denny Hamlin #11 cuts in, and crashes at the front of the field.  ‘Three-wide’ madness going into turn 3, Joey Logano #22 also wrecked.   No actual contact causes the wreck, just the aerodynamics of ‘3-wide’ in the corner at 150 MPH is enough to cause the cars to ‘get loose’ & spin out.  As the color man on the broadcast says about Hamlin’s daredevil driving, “That ain’t gonna work!”

Twenty-four laps to go: under caution (6th).  Danica Patrick 23rd, 2 laps back.  Her fans are happy she’s as far away from this idiocy as possible.  Hamlin is interviewed immediately after in the garage, looking at his wrecked car.  He doesn’t know if he hit the #2 or #42 when asked by MRN.  He’ll check the video later, then figure out his alibi.

19 laps to go: restart to green– Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth 1-2.  Kenseth had fallen out of the top 5, when Hamlin wrecked.  Manipulated?  Kevin Harvick & Kurt Busch (both SHR) overtake Kenseth, who falls to 4th.  Stewart is 13th, Patrick 21st– 2 laps down.

Checkered flag: Kyle Busch takes it, another dominate win from start-to-finish by JGR. Truex led 172 laps and race winner Busch led 69 of 267.

Kyle Busch #5

Round-up: Eight cars finished 10+ laps down, finishers 25-31 were 3 laps down.  Finishers 18-24 were two laps back. Jimmie Johnson finished 17th, the last car on the lead lap.  Danica Patrick finished 20th, and thankfully wasn’t wrecked.


Any car 10+ laps down should be removed from the race.  Marathon runners call it being ‘swept up’ and it’s a good rule to clear the course for the leaders.

Race Results Kansas 2016

Next Sunday, NASCAR madness moves to Dover, DE