By: Billy Tewes
The #20 Car of Matt Kenseth became the 3rd repeat winner of the 2013 season taking home the STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway. Kenseth was extremely fast all weekend as he set a new track record in qualifying as well as being fastest in practice. Kenseth faced a staunch challenge from Kasey Kahne as it was deja vu all over again. Kahne stalked Kenseth at Las Vegas earlier this year and finished second today. Kenseth’s second victory at Kansas marked his 26th career victory.
The action was a plenty at the 1.5 mile track. Drivers like Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr and even rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all showed they had the ability to get to the lead and hold onto it. It was hard to gauge who was strong enough to win the race as there was 13 different lead changes. This race saw eight cautions which was a stark contrast from last falls race of 14 cautions. Last weeks winner Kyle Busch complained of a loose race car early on and eventually crashed out and collected Joey Logano in a hard hit down the track.
With 20 laps to go the action really heated up as Kasey Kahne began to chisel away at Kenseth’s lead. Kahne was roughly one second off Kenseth’s back bumper and slowly but surely closed in. Lapped traffic helped Kahne close the gap as Matt Kenseth had a difficult time passing the slower cars. Kasey Kahne got into the corners better than Kenseth, but Kenseth sped off the corners faster and that was just enough to keep Kahne at bay.
One driver appeared poised to win late in the race had a caution ruin his shot at victory. Ricky Stenhouse Jr and a handful of others were on a different pit sequence than the rest of the field. They were 13 laps short of the regular pit sequence. These drivers pitted on lap 162 whereas the rest of the field had pitted at lap 175. This caused a problem for Stenhouse Jr when it came down to what would be his final pit stop. Stenhouse Jr came to pit road and completed his stop but the caution came out and he went a lap down. Stenhouse Jr got the free pass as he as the first car a lap down but there wasn’t enough time for him to challenge for the win and he would finish 11th.
Nascar heads to Richmond for the first night race at a short track. Night racing at short tracks is always exciting and there is bound to be a lot of close racing and more than likely a lot of crashes. Last year’s winners at Richmond were Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch. Toyota has had a stranglehold on Richmond winning 7 of the last 8 races. So look for the Toyota teams to be up front next week and all of the excitement that Richmond brings!