For all drivers, there are some tracks that they enjoy coming to because of success, and then there’s tracks that seem to be evil every time they come. It took Jeff Gordon 12 years before he finally got his lone victory at Texas. Famously, Dale Earnhardt spent 20 years to win the Daytona 500, despite having vast success outside of that particular race.
For Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr, the Kansas Speedway has been evil to them, but for different reasons.
Truex seemed to have a black cloud over him the last few years when NASCAR comes here. Just last season, his No. 78 was the car to beat for the entire night. However, tire strategy took away the chance to go to victory, and left he and his team wondering once more when he would break through. Fast forward to last night, it was the same scenario. Starting on pole, he led over half the race.
But, when the race was on the line, the team beat themselves. One lug nut that got hung up on the last round of green-flag stops took away that opportunity, and once again left he and the team wondering “what might have been.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Busch has not seen any luck at this facility. One of three tracks on the circuit that he hasn’t won at, he rarely saw strong runs at this place. One year, he was sitting at home watching Erik Jones pilot his car in this race, and even he would find trouble.
However, this time, Rowdy wanted it bad enough that he put aside the wonder and put forth an effort to get out front.
A late charge wasn’t enough, because in the air was the checkered flag, and that meant when the No. 18 crossed it first, the memories of the bad days and nights at Kansas suddenly were gone. What ended up being gone were the rear tires following his burnout, along with a quarter panel when one of them blew off.
That victory certainly paid dividends because one writer took that gamble and it was worth it. Results this week went from extremely good, to mediocre, and even horrible. Here’s the standings after the Go Bowling 400:
Ashley McCubbin (404) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Dustin Parks (352) Martin Truex Jr. finished 14th – 1
Sal Sigala Jr. (346) Kyle Busch WON – 2
Ashley Hull (319) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 5
Patti Rodisch (319) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Kara Martin (300) Brad Keselowski finished 10th – 1
Rob Blount (293) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Misan Akuya (282) Martin Truex Jr. finished 14th – 2
Mary Jo Buchanan (266) Joey Logano finished 38th – 1
Billy Fellin (261) Joey Logano finished 38th – 1
Klarissa Mitchell (257) Denny Hamlin finished 37th – 1
Ashley Hobbs (256) Jimmie Johnson finished 17th – 1
Rob Tiongson (247) Joey Logano finished 38th – 2
Stephen Conley (207) Jimmie Johnson finished 17th – 0
Next Race: In a sense, at least for a few teams, Kansas was a monster to try and tame. Truex for the second year in a row had the race in his hands, only to lose it because the team beat themselves. Meanwhile for Busch, the monster that was his difficulty at Kansas has now been put aside.
Now, the next track on the docket is literally known as a monster. After all, that monster is sitting outside the facility and holding a full-size Gen-6 car in it’s big claw.
A trip to the nation’s first state comes next week, and the Monster Mile is ready to welcome everyone in. Writers, we know the favorites, so have those picks in by Thursday, May 12, at 10 p.m. ET for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism.