Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Kansas Race Recap

*Key Moment* – The caution flag flew on lap 219 when *Brad Keselowski’s* rear bumper cover flew off his car in Turn 4. When the pit stops on that final caution of the race were completed, *Matt Kenseth* was the first car off pit lane and the rest of the day was all but academic.

*In a Nutshell* – From Friday morning, *Matt Kenseth* had the car to beat at Kansas this weekend. Everyone tried. No one could.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Texas Race Recap

*Key Moment* – Martin Truex Jr. was comfortably ahead, in position to break a six-year drought since his lone Cup win when the caution flew with 21 laps to go. As the cars came off pit road, Kyle Busch screeched out in front and from there, it was all she wrote. He went on to lead the final 20 laps and take the win.

*In a Nutshell* – Dominance for Kyle Busch. Heartbreak for Truex. Waiting for Fontana’s action that never came.

*Dramatic Moment* – During pre-race inspection, both cars fielded by Penske Racing were told that the tech inspectors did not like their rear end housings. The No. 2 and 22 cars had to change their rear ends in order to pass technical inspection. After the No. 22 swapped their rear end, it took them three tries to get through a laser inspection. By the time they got to the grid, the command to start engines had been given and Joey Logano had to start at the back.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville Race Recap

*Key Moment* – Joe Gibbs and Rick Hendrick spent their money to enter stock car racing? Seriously, on a day where Jimmie Johnson set a career high for laps led, where Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing led all but two laps, it’s hard to find a “defining moment.” Maybe Friday afternoon when Jimmie Johnson won the pole? When a driver “owns” a track, like Johnson has owned Martinsville during his career, earning the quickest route off pit lane just makes it that much easier for him to whip the field. He used that first pit stall to regain control, late in the race and it was all over but the burnouts after that.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Fontana’s Wild NASCAR Race Recap

*Key Moment* – Kyle Busch stayed out when most of the other lead lap cars came to the pits during two crucial caution flags. His two biggest rivals all day chose to stop. Denny Hamlin came in and took tires with 24 to go; Joey Logano got fresh skins with 29 laps left. Those moves, while costing them track position early allowed them to get past Busch and set up the day’s crazy ending.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas

Editor’s Note: Mike Neff is writing Matt’s column this week. The Key Moment – On the penultimate caution of the race, Matt Kenseth took fuel only while Kasey Kahne, who appeared to have the dominant car, took two tires and had to check up exiting his pit box. As a result, Kahne restarted sixth, had …

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2013 Budweiser Duel 150s at Daytona

Duel One – Kevin Harvick thought it was time to go, prior to the first green-flag pit stop of the race and he went, blowing by Trevor Bayne on Lap 37. That was pretty much all she wrote. The field spent the rest of the day simply trying to lap up Harvick’s beer exhaust, the Bud Chevy in another time zone just like the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night.

Duel Two – Jeff Gordon led. Then he sped… on pit road, so Kyle Busch pretty much took control from there. Kasey Kahne tried, and failed on the last lap to make a charge as teammate Matt Kenseth served as sacrificial lamb for Busch’s second career Duel victory.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2013 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona

On lap 16, Tony Stewart attempted to change lanes and make a move on race leader Matt Kenseth. While he wasn’t cleared by his spotter, Stewart chose to shift down low which resulted in his left rear corner making contact with the right front of Marcos Ambrose. Stewart’s car got out of shape, made contact with the apron and sent a shower of sparks over several cars that were pursuing him. Jimmie Johnson checked up in the high line, which caused Denny Hamlin to make contact with the five-time champ, turning him down in front of the oncoming pack and ultimately taking out one-third of the field. The accident eliminated defending champion Kyle Busch, two-time Unlimited champion Jeff Gordon, 2006 winner Denny Hamlin and 1999 winner Mark Martin. Just like that, the field was reduced by one-third, many contenders sat idle in the garage and the drafting – along with the racing – became a shell of its former self.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead

Jeff Gordon was among the drivers who pitted on a quick caution on lap 155. In the end, it resulted in the No. 24 having enough fuel to make it to the finish when Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. had to pit from the front of the field. Gordon ended the night taking the first win for Hendrick Motorsports at Homestead-Miami Speedway while his teammate Jimmie Johnson sat in his car in the garage, having lost the championship due to a faulty rear end.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix

Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer, collecting Joey Logano and Aric Almirola as the field was coming to the white flag. The result was a green-white-checkered finish, one that saw Danica Patrick wreck on the first of two laps, lay down a large amount of oil on the track, then cause a complete melee on the front straight as the cars came to the checkered flag. The final wreck tore up over half-a-dozen race cars while the incident between Gordon and Bowyer set off a rumble in the garage, one reminiscent of the Tide team vs. the Kodiak crew at the 1989 Winston.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 AAA Texas 500

During the seventh caution flag of the night, Brad Keselowski took two tires on his pit stop to regain lost track position while Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch took four. That got Kes the lead, for a series of restarts but kept what was likely the fastest car from having the speed to pull away. While Busch faded into the background, that decision would ultimately result in Johnson and Keselowski finishing first and second.