Despite the red flag for rain Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, I think this was one of the best one and a half mile races we’ve had this season.
Obviously they are pretty much all smiles at Hendrick Motorsports this week by having three of their four drivers finish in the top four of the race. Jimmie Johnson won on strategy, while teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon finished third and fourth, respectively.
We saw the No. 48 (Johnson), the No. 88 (Earnhardt) and Kurt Busch in the No. 41 roll the dice and they all stayed out during that last caution. The interesting thing those three cars had in common is they already have wins in 2015. They really had nothing to lose by gambling and staying out. In Jimmie’s case it worked and he posted his third win of the year.
Article continues below ...
Obviously the guy I felt for was Martin Truex Jr.
He had a great car. He led the most laps of any driver Saturday night, with 95. You know, it’s a pretty long list of races where Martin had the fastest car but wasn’t able to win the race because of something transpiring.
Having been a former crew chief for 18 years, I try and stay away from second-guessing a call made by a team. What I will second-guess the No. 78 bunch on Saturday night was the call for four tires. If you are coming to pit road at all at that point in the race, just get two tires and go. Unfortunately they didn’t and they had to settle for a ninth place finish.
With all that said, you can’t ignore the fact the No. 78 just continues to shine. That’s their 10th top-10 finish in 11 races this season.
Naturally, when we pulled into Kansas Speedway we all knew that if you wanted to win that race you were going to have to beat either that No. 48 car or that No. 4 car of Kevin Harvick because of their dominance on the mile-and-a-half tracks. Saturday night they finished first and second. That’s seven races in a row at tracks like that where one or the other wins. In addition to that, every time Jimmie has won, Kevin has been right there finishing second.