Saturday night at Kansas Speedway marked our ninth race for this low-downforce package.
As I mentioned last week, I had this race circled because this track by far, including the two we raced at last year, had the most grip of any of them.
Now to be fair, I can’t say it was a bad race, but I certainly can’t sit here and say it was as good as some of the others we’ve seen at the other 1.5-mile tracks.
I’m hearing a lot of talk in and out of the garage area that with the teams figuring out how to get back the downforce they lost in the off-season, maybe it’s time for NASCAR to at least consider the possibility of taking more downforce away.
I will say the wreck that happened in Turn 2 with Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski probably never would have happened if they had a lot of downforce. Actually nobody hit anything until Joey Logano simply had nowhere to go. It was simply three cars losing the air on the rear spoiler and spinning out.
Kyle Busch is unstoppable
There’s a couple great storylines that came out of Saturday night’s race. The biggest one to me is Kyle Busch.
Here is a man who is barely 31 years old and is getting closer to doing something that no one has ever accomplished in the history of the NASCAR. I’m talking about winning at every single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track he’s competed at.
Kansas was one, but it’s checked off the list. Now that leaves only two and ironically both of those tracks — Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway — are coming up in the next month.
It would be a remarkable feat if he can accomplish it. Let’s face it, anytime you can put yourself at the top of the record book in NASCAR’s long history, it’s pretty phenomenal.
Obviously, there is always a chance that it might not happen, but as goal-driven and young as Kyle is, I believe it’s only a matter of when — not if.
Martin Truex Jr. has another win slip away
As a broadcaster I try really hard to not to pull for a specific driver. Now sure, I’m only human and there’s a little part of me that would love to see Richard Childress Racing get back to Victory Lane.
But how can you not pull, though, for Martin Truex Jr. and that No. 78 team?
If they would have been able to pull off the win Saturday night, I don’t even think the driver finishing second would have begrudged the Truex Jr. taking the checkered flag.
Two years in a row now they have dominated the Kansas race, and for different reasons, they have yet to come home with the win.
What happened to them was a freak occurrence that might not ever happen again â a lug nut getting wedged in the hub of the wheel. Again, I say there is no way you can run the way they are running and not find a way to Victory Lane eventually this season.
Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney
How about our two rookies?
Ryan Blaney finished 5th and Chase Elliott finished ninth.
They just continue to impress everyone week in and week out.
Drivers who were able to rebound
The other thing I took note of was in a fairly short race, how many drivers rebounded Saturday night.
A.J. Allmendinger had a speeding penalty on pit road, but came back to finish 8th.
Brad Keslowski, as mentioned earlier, spun out but was able to recover for a 10th-place finish.
I mentioned that Chase finished ninth, that was after he hit the wall, so he made a great recovery.
Then there was Carl Edwards, who had a flat tire, lost two laps but still raced his way to 11th.
All that goes to show me that you can still pass at that race track.
Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing
I think we are getting to a point where the sport is asking, "What does Toyota have that the others don’t?"
Even more specifically what does Joe Gibbs Racing have that the others don’t?
Joe Gibbs Racing is Toyota and don’t forget that the No. 78 has an alliance with the organization, so they are basically a branch off the family tree.
JGR has now won six out of eleven races in 2016. Kyle has now won three times. Teammate Carl Edwards has won twice. Denny Hamlin has won once, which leaves Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. still looking for Victory Lane.
Quite honestly, if I participated in the fantasy races leagues, I don’t know how I wouldn’t pick all five of those Toyota drivers every week — no matter what track we’re at.
Great weather, great crowd
The other thing I was impressed with was the weather.
We’ve been racing there since 2001, and I’ve never seen it that good there.
And there was also a pretty impressive crowd, especially with it being on Mother’s Day weekend.
It almost makes me wonder if we no longer need to be gun-shy about racing on holiday weekends.
Maybe that is a time when folks have some extra time off and can come watch one of our NASCAR Sprint Cup races.