Kansas Wrap-Up: Harvick Dominates, Kyle Busch's Chase Hopes Take A Hit
For all those expecting Kevin Harvick to be a lame duck in his final season with Richard Childress Racing, think again.
Harvick put on a wail of a performance Sunday afternoon, leading 138 of 268 laps to score his third win of the season, and first in the Chase. As a result, 'Happy' jumped to third in the championship standings behind Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.
While Harvick's car was the strongest in the late stages of the race, it took a gutsy pit call by crew chief Gil Martin to get the No. 29 out of the middle of the pack and in clean air.
"It was just a tough day with track position," Harvick said. "I knew if we could ever get back out front after we got caught in the pits there with that debris caution. It kind of worked out for us there at the end and caught a couple of those guys, so it all came full circle and we were able to put our Budweiser Chevy up front and once we got out front the thing was just really fast."
To say the No. 29 RCR team was having fun in victory lane would be an understatement.
While Harvick and his team was celebrating in style, fellow Chaser Kyle Busch was leaving Kansas with his tail between his legs.
Arguably his worst track on the schedule, Busch was simply looking to leave Kansas with a solid points day and avoid any issues. That was not the case.
Busch's problems started in practice, where he wrecked his primary car on the first lap on the track Saturday morning. Starting from the rear of the field on Sunday, he spun on the first corner of the first lap to avoid a multi-car wreck involving Danica Patrick. With minimal damage, Busch and the No. 18 team went to work.
Their troubles were far from over, however.
After racing hard with Juan Pablo Montoya, Busch was turned at the start/finish line and slid back up the track. Amazingly, the No. 18 did not make contact with any other car and was able to continue on.
Forced to work his way back to the front once again, an incident with Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers on Lap 198 ended Busch's day and severely hurt his Chase hopes. Busch now sits 35 points behind Kenseth with six races left in the Chase.
Sunday's 400-mile race at Kansas Speedway was truly one of the strangest races in recent memory. Drivers struggled with Goodyear's new tire, there were a number of vicious wrecks, and heck, even a brush fire - you don't see that every day.