In its debut night race, Kansas Speedway gave a nail biting race that had fans sitting on the edge of their seats throughout its duration. On a day where the race was temporarily delayed because of threatening weather, and pole sitter Kevin Harvick dominating early, it was Jeff Gordon who pulled away late, giving him his third victory at Kansas, and first victory this season.
Harvick, who set a ‘freaky fast’ new track record during the second round of qualifying, finished second after losing by two tenths of a second to Gordon.
After a strong and quiet day, Kasey Kahne was able to bring his car home in third while Joey Logano in his red, white, and blue, Penske Ford brought home fourth. Rounding out the top five was Dale Jr in the number 88.
The race began after storms surrounded the track, and while it never rained, NASCAR officials put the race ‘on hold.’
Kevin Harvick kept the lead early on until green flag pit stops forced him to give it up. Not too long after, on lap 47, hometown native, Clint Bowyer spun out and brought out the first caution. While Keselowski did bring the field back to green, Harvick was quick to assert himself back into a comfortable lead on lap 53.
Not too long after, on lap 60, caution number two came out. This one involved wrecked cars and ended days when Ryan Truex and David Ragan tangled up and involved Michael Annett and Landon Cassil. Ragan, after heading to the garage, was quick to take the blame, saying he got loose and it was not Truex’s fault.
After an extensive clean up, the race went back to green on lap 67 and stayed that way until lap 71 when Hamlin spun out. Avoiding any contact with anybody or wall, the race quickly got back to green.
On lap 101, contender Jeff Gordon made a green flag pit stop, trailing along Harvick, Edwards, Johnson, Keselowski, and a few others. Nine laps later, on lap 110, the caution flag was waved again when Marcos Ambrose spun into the grass and onto pit road.
It was under this caution that the lights on the backstretch went out. After drivers told that it was bright enough to race, the race went back to green and Dale Jr led the field to the restart.
Logano took the lead after Earnhardt Jr let up a little on lap 123.
The race went green for a stretch as the drivers raced cleanly. Jamie McMurray was running a great race up until he got loose and hit the wall in turn two. His car caught fire, but he drove It down pit road and exited the car under his own power.
Kurt Busch was also running a quiet night up until he brought out the caution – twice.
The first caution was after the race had gotten back to green after cleaning up the mess from McMurray’s crash. Kurt Busch spun out and into the grass. To add salt to the wounds, Kurt was hit with a pit road penalty for pitting too fast.
Two laps after the race went back to green, AJ Allmedinger lost control of his car and spun into the infield. During the spin, Allmedinger clipped Justin Allgaier who then hammered David Gililand. After the smoke cleared, two piles of metal were all that were left of Gililand and Allgaier’s cars.
After a few laps to clean up, the race went back to green on lap 195, with Jimmie Johnson leading the field back to the green.
Once again the caution flag was waved on lap 203 – Kurt Busch’s second spin.
Five laps later Logano led the field back to the green after Jimmie Johnson pit. Kevin Harvick, who restarted second, was able to stay even with, and then pull ahead of Logano and take the lead. By lap 221, Harvick carved out a three second lead over Joey Logano, but Jeff Gordon was not too far behind.
Turns out that was the last caution if the night and the drivers ran the rest of the race under green. During a complicated cycle of green flag pit stops, Jeff Gordon was able to not only come out in the lead because of a miniature blunder in the pits with Harvicks crew, but Gordon was also able to pull away.
That was the way it stayed until the end of the race, giving Jeff Gordon his 89th win of his career, third on the all-time win list.
The top ten was Gordon, Harvick, Kahne, Logano, Dale Jr, Edwards, Danica, Almirola, Johnson, and Kenseth.
Danica Patrick had her best finish ever in a stock car at Kansas with a finish of seventh.
Next week the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte airs on Fox Sports 1.