Kevin Harvick crashed the Toyota party at Kansas
When you looked at qualifying and the practice sessions at Kansas Speedway this weekend, I felt like the Hollywood Casino 400 was certainly going to be a Toyota day. Toyotas swept the first two rows in qualifying and Matt Kenseth was fastest in Happy Hour.
Early on, Kenseth made it look like that was going to be the case. He led 116 laps, but close to the halfway point, he got against the wall and the handling changed on his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. And that pretty much took him out of contention to win the race.
Again, how many times this year have we talked about it: Chase Elliott, drives up there, takes the lead and just — he just can’t have any luck, that’s all you can say. He and his teammate Kasey Kahne had the same problem with tire rubs at the back of the car that made me go, “Hmmm?”
I knew watching practice on Saturday that Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet maybe didn’t have that short-run speed, but he definitely had long-run speed and that showed up yesterday.
And as much as we think that once you get them in a hole, they’re not going to get out, they continue to prove, yes they will get out. It’s almost like this situation that they were in motivates them. We’ve seen it for 2 ½ years now. Nobody probably does it better than they do.
The last seven races at Kansas, Harvick has been with two different organizations, and had to race with rules packages all over the place, and yet still, he’s finished first or second five times in those seven races. Harvick told me he’s figured something out there, but he wouldn’t expand on it, and I think the numbers support it.
After his victory, then you look at how the Chase is formatted and how the Round of 12 is playing out.
The top six finishers were all Chase drivers. Austin Dillon raced his guts out and he finished sixth and basically gained three points. He’s still on the outside of the Chase bubble looking in.
Joey Logano finished third and gained six points, but he’s still just barely above the cut line. So that, to me, is what makes this whole format interesting.
But I will say this in closing: For a track to have a repave not too long ago, that place is racing nice and it has a groove from the top to the bottom. So I commend the job that was done on that race track.
Normally, when a mile-and-a-half track gets repaved, you dread the racing for five, six or seven years, knowing you’re going to have one, maybe, two grooves. But at Kansas Speedway, they’re running from the top to the bottom of that race track. And that’s a good thing.