Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS — May 11, 2019
Kevin Harvick(4) won last year’s Spring race at Kansas Speedway. It was his 5th victory of 2018. Harvick will start on the pole for tonight’s Digital Ally 400 and it could not come at a better time. Harvick is winless so far this year.
The race’s 400.5 distance is comprised of 267 laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Stages are 80/80/107 laps.
NASCAR scheduled a competition caution for lap 30 due to overnight rains on the racetrack. Harvick took the green flag and began building a lead. His 4.5-second advantage disappeared when they brought out the caution after he led every lap from the start.
Harvick restarted in 10th as nine drivers only took two tires on their stop. He was the first of those who changed all 4 Goodyears during the stop. Harvick drove back to the lead in 15 laps and won the Stage going away.
Stage 1 Results
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.*||8|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The race returned to green on Lap 87 with Kurt Busch(1) in the lead, which he captured with a two-tire stop. Harvick restarted in 2nd. Five laps later Harvick was back in the lead. Green flag pit stops began with 40 laps to go in the Stage.
After everyone made stops, Chase Elliott(9) was in the lead. Adjustments made by Harvick’s crew hurt the handling of his car. He finished the stage in 2nd, as Elliott took the green and white checkered flag.
Stage 2 Results
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.*||6|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
Harvick again beat everyone off pit road after the Stage ending pit stops. Ryan Blaney(12) moved up to 2nd with a two-tire change. Erik Jones(20), Alex Bowman(88), and Kyle Busch(18) round out the top 5 for the Final Stage restart. Elliott had a slight issue with the right rear tire costing him several positions on pit road, he restarts 7th.
Harvick quickly moved out to a two-second lead. However, trouble struck with 90 laps to go. Complaining of an issue with the right front he brought the car to pit road with 88 laps to go. His crew changed the right side tires and removed a large piece of plastic wrap from the air duct on the left front. The stop dropped Harvick from the lead lap.
The last three weeks must have seemed like a dream for Bowman. Three second-place Stage finishes and 2nd at both Talladega and Dover. He inherited the lead from Harvick and stretched it out to four seconds over Kyle Busch.
Final green flag pit stops started with 55 laps to go. Ryan Newman(6) entered pit road with 50 laps to go. During his stop, a tire escaped the attention of his crew and rolled into the tri-oval grass forcing NASCAR to bring out the caution. As pit stops were still in process, some of the leaders were caught a lap down.
After caution flag pit stops, the lucky dog went to Kyle Larson(42) and the lap down cars took the wave-around opportunity. Kyle Busch exited the pits with the lead. Unfortunately for Kyle he drove through too many pit stalls when entering his pit and was penalized sending him to the rear of the field.
Bowman moved to the front, followed by Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17), Chris Buescher(37), and Tyler Reddick(31). The green flag waved with 38 laps to the finish and Elliott immediately jumped into the lead. Followed closely by Bowman and Stenhouse.
Blaney had a tire explode with 28 laps to go. Debris on the track brought out another caution. Drivers at the end of the lead lap pitted, while the leaders stayed out. Harvick earned the luck dog by being the first car a lap down and returned to the lead lap making it 14 cars racing for the win.
Elliott and Bowman bring the field to green with 23 to go. They ran side-by-side for the entire lap as the pack spread out three and four wide behind them. Stenhouse went three-wide for the lead and took it away from Bowman. But not for long, as the battle for 3rd on back raged, Bowman took the front spot back.
With 15 to go, it was Bowman, Keselowski, and Jones nose to tail. They began to encounter lapped traffic with 12 to go. Seven laps from the finish Keselowski made a pass for the lead. Jones also managed to get past Bowman.
And Another Caution
With four laps to go, Matt DiBenedetto’s(95) engine expired and the caution waved again, sending the race to overtime. Just like the last yellow flag, cars at the end of the lead lap pitted and the leaders stayed out.
Keselowski, Jones, Bowman, Jimmie Johnson(48), and Chase Elliott lead the pack to the green-white-checkered flag finish.
Keselowski took a one-car lead into Turn 1. As drivers scrambled for position behind him, he drove off to the win. Bowman finished 2nd for the 3rd week in a row. Bowman holds the unfortunate distinction of having finished in every position (2nd through 40th) except 1st during his Cup career. The way he’s driven the past few races, that 1st victory can be too far off.
Jones finished 3rd, Elliott 4th, and Bowyer 5th. Next week it’s the All-Star Race from Charlotte followed by the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. Look for Live Coverage from The Lasco Press both Charlotte weekends.
Results of the Digital Ally 400 from Kansas Speedway
|11||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||1.452||271|
|19||19||Martin Truex Jr.||-1||270|
Points / Playoff Standings
|4||Martin Truex Jr.||396||2|
|Playoff Cut Line|
*Ford Mustang Drivers