PRESENTER 1: It’s such an up and down day for so many of these playoff contenders. Let’s take a look at the highlights.
The first 30 laps were caution free, so we’ll pick it up on the restart after the competition caution, Larry. Martin Truex Jr. was penalized for changing lanes.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. NASCAR stressed it to drivers meeting this morning, that the front row restarts had to stay in their lane. That included not dropping below that white line, and you too you cross the start finish line.
I know Harvick did the same thing, but this rule was all about the front row. Martin had to do a pass through penalty, right there.
PRESENTER 1: So let’s check in with Ryan Blayney, who started 40th today, worked his way up to fourth place for seven points in stage number one.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah, his qualifying time was disallowed and he used strategy and finished fourth in stage one, and then ended up finishing third in the race. He had cracked the top 20 by lap 14.
PRESENTER 1: So here comes the trouble for some of the playoff contenders, Kyle Larson on pit road with the hood up.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. A pity that lap 65 said it was losing power. They can’t look any different things about the engine, and he goes back out there. 13 laps later, this engine expires. Out of the race.
He had to sit and wait to see if he was going to advance, or not.
PRESENTER 1: So now the stage one checkered flag was two laps later under caution. Kyle Busch comes around to get the valuable stage win.
And now let’s go on to stage number two. Would be decided with a one lap shoot at, as Denny Hamlin stayed out and hold or– held on, rather, for the stage when holding off Kevin Harvick.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. I mean, he had a lot of laps on his tires. Four drivers stayed out. But it was enough to get that stage win for Denny.
PRESENTER 1: Trouble on lap 174 for Ricky Stenhouse. He hits the wall and so do his championship hopes.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Rough weekend. Had been loose the entire race, but a cut tires what sent him in the wall. He ends up finish in 29. He will not advance to the round of eight.
PRESENTER 1: Don’t see this often. A seven time champion, Jimmy Johnson, goes for a spin.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. Having an OK day, doing what he needed to do, run and tamp right here, spins, goes down through the grass. A lot of damage to the front splitter in the front end, but the 48 car, the 48 team, they keep working on. They keep them on the lead lap.
But on the very next restart, he’s up against the wall. Spins out again, can you believe it? I’d rather be lucky than good. He does not hit anything. They continue to make repairs. He finishes 11th, and he keeps his championship hopes alive.
PRESENTER 1: Yep. They just keep on roll. On lap number 198, this was the big one, Larry.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. Eric Jones in that 77 car gets loose. What a hard leak. It involves about seven or eight drivers, including two of our playoff drivers, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.
PRESENTER 1: So as Matt Kenseth come to the pits, Larry, this was a bad break for the team and Matt.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. They’re under the five minute vehicle damaged clock. And that rule says, when you’re under that clock you could only have six crew members working on the car. If you use a seventh, he can only serve the driver with the windshiled.
You can see all seven of these crew members are working on the 20 car. The rule infraction. You’re out of the race. You can see Matt pulls in the grudge area, and now his playoff hopes are done.
PRESENTER 1: Very disappointing, as Jason Radcliffe explains to the coach exactly what happened. That puts Jimmy Johnson back in the playoffs.
Lap number 211. Here we have trouble. I mean, actually Martin Truex Jr. goes back to the front, as he passes Kyle Busch.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS: Yeah. It took him over 100 laps to overcome everything that happened in the early part of this race. No surprise a mile and a half track, Martin Truex Jr. is out front.
PRESENTER 1: And for the second time in a row at Kansas, he comes around, takes the checkered flag. That’s his seventh this season.
He is on a roll and has a full head of steam, heading to that championship race. So there’s the win for Truex.