After finding a touch of excitement last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, the drama continued this weekend at the 1.5-mile tri-oval of Kansas Speedway.
Toyota Tundra 250
After a brief hiatus, the Camping World Truck Series returned to racing action during Friday night’s Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway. Led to the wave of the green flag by 22-year-old Toyota development driver Christopher Bell, the 32-truck field would be quickly taken over by the dominating force of Kyle Busch. After jumping to the lead in the first few laps, Busch’s No. 51 Toyota Tundra continued to power through both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 wins.
After leading much of this race, Busch lost a side-by-side battle against fellow Toyota driver Ben Rhodes following a restart on lap 139. While Rhodes appeared to have what it takes to pick up the checkered-flag, a piece of debris shot through the grill of his No. 27 Safelite Tundra and once again held Rhodes back from a Truck Series race win.
As Rhodes limped back to the garage, former race leader Kyle Busch would reclaim his place and take home the win in the Toyota Tundra 250.
Despite picking up his second win at Kansas, Busch said that this win was a bitter one to swallow.
“Ben Rhodes had that race won,” said Busch. “That one was his. I tried everything I could to try to chase him back down. I just didn’t have enough speed in our Tundra tonight – it was fast, but his was a little bit faster than ours.”
Series point leader Johnny Sauter came home second and once again took over the Series points lead. The Camping World Truck Series will return to its dramatic racing action next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Go Bowling 400
A dramatic racing weekend would continue as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolled onto the 1.5-mile Speedway for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400. Led to the wave of the green flag by NASCAR young gun Ryan Blaney, the 400-mile race quickly began to unfold in a similarly dramatic fashion as the previous night’s Camping World Truck Series race.
Just like the opening laps of Friday’s Toyota Tundra 250, the Toyota race machine of Kyle Busch once again powered to the lead during the opening laps of this race. After picking up the win in the first stage, Busch would have to fight off the hard charging No. 78 of Martin Truex, Jr. as well as the No. 21 of pole sitter Blaney, to sweep Kansas Speedway.
While Blaney would pick up the second stage win, a defiant Martin Truex Jr., who has struggled at Kansas Speedway over the last several years, would become a more dominant force after leading a race-high 104 of 267 laps.
Much like Busch, Truex would take his domination all the way to Victory Lane to grab his ninth career win and second win of the 2017 season.
“It feels great,” Truex said. “This track has definitely been a thorn in our side. For whatever reason, we always run good here, but have never been able to could close the deal until now.”
Despite having a reason to celebrate a deserving winner, many fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and race fans were left holding their breath after a three-car crash landed Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola in the hospital as Truex took the checkered flag.
With 68 laps remaining, Joey Logano and Danica Patrick were continuing to battle for the 12th position when Logano’s No. 22 Ford suddenly snapped to the left, leaving both he and Patrick slamming hard in the Turn 2 wall. A moment later, Aric Almirola’s No. 43 barreled into both and left Almirola with a new ride to a local hospital. After leaving the hospital on Sunday morning, Almirola is now facing recovery time for a compression fracture on his T5 vertebra.
Although Richard Petty Motorsports has yet to release a statement as to how long their driver will have to sit on the sidelines this season, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin had to sit out six weeks of the 2013 season for a similar injury.
We will continue to keep our readers posted as the drama that is NASCAR continues to unfold.