Kansas Speedway playing out like a horror show for NASCAR's elite
OCT 06, 2013 7:45p ET
"Pretty crazy," Joey Logano said.
"A bizarre kind of race," Marcos Ambrose said.
"Treacherous," Carl Edwards said. "I mean, death-defying every time you went into the corner on a run."
"I was just so loose," Matt Kenseth said, "I was ready to crash pretty much at all times of the race."
Kansas Speedway, boys and girls! May include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, and crashes. Lots and lots of crashes.
"It was like driving on a razor blade," said Kevin Harvick, who won -- or should we say survived -- the mess that was the 2013 Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday.
It was like a slasher film, only with cars biting the dust instead of cheerleaders. If Dover is "The Monster Mile," what’s Kansas? "The Beast of Barbecue Country?" "The Leviathan of The Legends?" "The Werewolf of Wyandotte County?" Or maybe "The Tornado" -- because, before too long, half the field winds up spinning.
Last October, The Little Speedway That Could threw 14 cautions at the Chase For The Cup. This time? This time around, it was 15, a new track record. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ...
"I hadn't thought about that," said Jimmie Johnson, who wound up sixth after basically coasting to the finish because of a rattling engine. "But it's good to get out of here with points, that's for sure."
Forget points, brother; you were lucky to get out of here with a chassis intact. Sunday presented the perfect combination for chaos. Goodyear tested a new tire here late last week; it was reportedly given a thumbs-up from the powers that be. But then temperatures on race day fell off a cliff, fluctuated, then fell off a cliff again.
Ergo, NASCAR On Ice.
Danica Patrick set the tone for the day on Lap 1, getting loose and careening into the wall off of Turn 2, ending her afternoon after just a few minutes. The "Werewolf" got Kyle Busch on Lap 187, coming out of Turn 2.
Afterward, Busch, never one to mince words, um, didn't.
"(This) race track is the worst race track I've ever driven on; the tires were the worst tires I've ever driven on," he said.
"And track position's everything. You can't do anything unless you're out front. I mean, you get back in traffic -- Kevin Harvick didn't pass me, he led the first 80 laps of the race. So I'd say it's pretty pathetic."
The culprit for Skid Sunday was tough to pin down. Some went off on the tire. Others went off on the track, which was repaved and reconfigured, to much consternation, in the summer of 2012.
"We're paving these race tracks with what we're paving new highways with," said Jeff Gordon, who finished third. "This is not a highway. It's a race track and it's a race car and a racing tire. It needs to be looked at differently."
"I think that, obviously, they need to work on the tire," Harvick said. "But the bottom line is, you have to wait for the track to age."
And you know what they say about growing pains.
Although the repaving doesn't necessarily explain the eighth, and strangest, caution of the day, the one that took place after Lap 155. A burning bush -- a burning something, anyway -- caused a smoke delay between Turns 1 and 2.
"What was on fire? Mulch?" Harvick asked with a grin. "Duct tape and mulch were our best friends today."
For the most part, friends here were few and far between. And restarts?
"They were insane," Edwards said. "Look up insane, and that is the definition, right there."
"All I know is we're in Kansas," Busch said, acidly. "Right?"
Darn straight. No one under 17 will be admitted without an adult. Some material may not suitable for children. Or crew chiefs.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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