Bowyer one of several to suffer fate
There’s not a venue where Clint Bowyer wants to win more than Kansas Speedway — his hometown track. But Bowyer’s hopes were dashed on Lap 52 when he spun out in Turn 4 while running in the top 15.
Bowyer limped through the next 48 laps and retired on Lap 138 when his engine failed.
“It just wasn’t our day,” said Bowyer, who finished 36th. “Just one of those days in motorsports. The guys do such a good job back at the shop to give me a car that’s capable of winning. . . . This is just the nature of the beast. I don’t know what broke — I just wish it hadn’t have happened here — anywhere but here.
“This is the nature of the beast. Unfortunately this happens from time to time. These guys do such a good job with the engine program. They were bringing a good car; you know, we were running upfront, I think we were a couple adjustments away from at least being part of the game here today. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our day. We’ll regroup and go back after it in Richmond.”
Bowyer’s teammate Mark Martin experienced a similar fate. Martin lasted until lap 255 of the 267 when his engine failed as well. Martin qualified fifth — the best of the three Michael Waltrip Racing cars — and remained in contention for most of the day. However, he settled for 33rd. Both MWR cars are powered by Toyota Racing Development.
Bobby Labonte, who also drives a Toyota, experienced an engine failure on Lap 132, when his car died on pit road. JTG/Daugherty Racing receives its engines from Triad. Labonte finished 35th.
Toyota identiified the TRD failures as valve train issues. TRD vice president David Wilson said, "(We) need to look at the data to understand better, but (it) appears that both were valve-train based as opposed to bottom-end or EFI."
The Toyota camp wasn’t alone. On Lap 240, Jeff Gordon found himself off the pace. While Gordon was a top-15 car for most of the race, over the last 27 circuits he dropped to 21st.
And Kurt Busch, who ran as high as fourth and was a top-10 car for much of the day, also had his Hendrick engine fall flat. Busch closed the race 17th.