NASCAR Update: Post Kansas

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Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS — July 27, 2020

NASCAR’s Kansas weekend ran a bit outside of the normal schedule. The Cup Series event was held on Thursday night with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and Xfinity Series races being held over the weekend. Still, there was no shortage of news from the track.

Cup Series Drivers run at Kansas Speedway / NASCAR Photo

Thursday’s Cup Race

The Super Start Batteries 400 went to Denny Hamlin as he outruns Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones.

Kyle Busch won his first Stage of the year in the opening segment. Not what the defending Cup Champion expected out of his 2020 campaign.

A huge mistake by his pit crew sends early leader Joey Logano to the rear of the field. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s car catches fire under the dash ending his day. Two big wrecks mangle the field and the playoff standings.

Playoff Points

Jimmie Johson dropped off the bubble after wrecking and finishing 32nd. William Byron’s 10th place run moved him into the top 16, onto the bubble. The battle for the 16th spot, the final playoff position, is hot. Tyler Reddick is only 10 points out, Erik Jones is 12 back, and Jimmie Johnson is 18 points behind.

Rank Driver Points Wins Status
1 Denny Hamlin 634 5 In-Win
2 Kevin Harvick 763* 4 In-Win
3 Brad Keselowski 666* 2 In-Win
4 Joey Logano 609* 2 In-Win
5 Ryan Blaney 663* 1 In-Win
6 Chase Elliott 630 1 In-Win
7 Martin Truex Jr. 602 1 In-Win
8 Alex Bowman 539 1 In-Win
9 Austin Dillon 438 1 In-Win
10 Cole Custer 352* 1 In-Win
11 Aric Almirola 576* 0 +134
12 Kyle Busch 562 0 +120
13 Kurt Busch 561 0 +119
14 Clint Bowyer 484* 0 +42
15 Matt DiBenedetto 477* 0 +35
16 William Byron 452 0 +10
Playoff Cut Line
17 Tyler Reddick 442 0 -10
18 Erik Jones 440 0 -12
19 Jimmie Johnson 434 0 -18
20 Bubba Wallace 352 0 -100

*Ford Mustang Drivers

No Qualifying for the Remainder of the 2020 Season

Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Competition mad the following announcement. “Following discussions with our race teams and the broader industry, NASCAR will continue to conduct its race weekends without practice and qualifying for the remainder of the 2020 season in all three national series. The current format has worked well in addressing several challenges during our return to racing. Most importantly, we have seen competitive racing week-to-week. NASCAR will adjust the starting lineup draw procedure for the Playoff races, and will announce the new process at a later date.”

The current draw process in use is as follows.

  • Positions 1-12 determined by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in team owner points
  • Positions 13-24: Random draw among charter teams in those positions in owner points
  • Positions 25-36: Random draw among charter teams in those positions in owner points
  • Positions 37-40: will be filled out by open, non-chartered teams in order of owner points

Maurice Petty Passes Away

Richard Petty’s younger brother, Maurice passed away. A statement from the family noted: “The Petty family announces with great sadness the loss of Maurice Petty, who died peacefully on Saturday, July 25, 2020. Maurice, a stock-car racing pioneer whose career supplied the horsepower that propelled Petty Enterprises to victories, passed away surrounded by family earlier this morning. He was 81 years old.”

Two-years younger than his brother Richard, Maurice was the first engine-builder inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, joining Richard Petty, Father Lee Petty, and cousin Dale Inman in 2014. His 212 NASCAR Cup Series wins included 198 for brother Richard Petty and 14 wins among 5 other drivers, father Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Pete Hamilton, and Jim Paschal.

In addition, Maurice was Pete Hamilton’s crew chief when he won the 1970 Daytona 500 and at Talladega Superspeedway later in the same year.

NASCAR’s Silly Season

Yes, it’s begun already. That time of year in NASCAR called the “Silly Season” when contract negotiations start rumors about who will end up where for the 2021 Season. Of course, much of what actually happens hinges on who will occupy the #48 seat when Jimmie Johnson officially retires at the end of this year. Once that domino falls, look for the flood gates to open.

Here are our three top candidates to slip behind the wheel of the Ally Car.

Brad Keselowski – While it would take a load of cash to pry the 2012 Cup Champion away from Team Penske, Rick Hendrick is not short on mountains of the green stuff. The veteran driver, with 32 Cup wins, would make a smart addition to the team of Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Alex Bowan. For an organization that craves success, Keselowski would add his resume to the talent of young guns and bring a stable influence to the shop and garage.

Brad Keselowski / Lasco Press Photo

Erik Jones – Any Cup team would jump at the opportunity to sign this 24-year old future superstar, who has won at every level including 2 Cup wins, to their roster. The problem at Joe Gibbs Racing seems to be, too much talent. You have to show young talent a path to the Cup Series and with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. all in the prime of their career, there might not be a spot for Jones.

If Rick Hendrick wants him, he is ripe for the pickings. Bringing a complete youth movement to Team Hendrick. If Jones makes the playoffs and can make a run past the first round, his stock is going to rise.

Tyler Reddick – While Reddick seems content at Richard Childress Racing and he’s thankful for the opportunity, he understands the Dillon boys are family. The grandsons of the team owner are always going to leave Reddick as the 3rd man on the roster. Reddick would jump at the chance to join a top-ranked team. Leading NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year standings is more on talent than his car’s capability. Look what Cole Custer accomplished in his rookie year with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Cup Seris racing returns next Sunday from New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.

Results of the Super Start Batteries 400 from Texas Motor Speedway

Place Car Driver Laps Behind
1 11 Denny Hamlin 267
2 2 Brad Keselowski 267 0.510
3 19 Martin Truex Jr. 267 0.756
4 4 Kevin Harvick 267 3.365
5 20 Erik Jones 267 3.593
6 10 Aric Almirola 267 6.937
7 41 Cole Custer 267 7.777
8 88 Alex Bowman 267 9.951
9 1 Kurt Busch 267 10.217
10 24 William Byron 267 10.742
11 18 Kyle Busch 267 10.901
12 9 Chase Elliott 267 11.940
13 8 Tyler Reddick 267 12.126
14 14 Clint Bowyer 267 13.999
15 13 Ty Dillon 267 15.962
16 34 Michael McDowell 267 16.350
17 42 Matt Kenseth 267 16.812
18 96 Daniel Suarez 267 24.262
19 38 John Hunter Nemechek 266 1 Lap
20 12 Ryan Blaney 266 1 Lap
21 32 Corey LaJoie 266 1 Lap
22 27 J.J. Yeley 265 2 Laps
23 95 Christopher Bell 264 3 Laps
24 0 Quin Houff 260 7 Laps
25 53 Josh Bilicki 260 7 Laps
26 77 Garrett Smithley 260 7 Laps
27 3 Austin Dillon 251 16 Laps
28 6 Ryan Newman 251 16 Laps
29 51 Joey Gase 251 16 Laps
30 15 Brennan Poole 219 48 Laps
31 7 Reed Sorenson 216 51 Laps
32 48 Jimmie Johnson 200 67 Laps
33 17 Chris Buescher 182 85 Laps
34 37 Ryan Preece 181 86 Laps
35 22 Joey Logano 176 91 Laps
36 21 Matt DiBenedetto 175 92 Laps
37 43 Bubba Wallace 170 97 Laps
38 66 Timmy Hill 116 151 Laps
39 78 B.J. McLeod 66 201 Laps
40 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 58 209 Laps