By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Credit: Hendricks Motorsports Twitter Page
We head to Kansas for the middle race of the round of eight. The race starts and we are already three wide and all over the track. We start hearing that there is sprinkling on the track. At first, the sprinkles are light and it does not appear to be extremely crazy. It does end up picking up and the drivers come down and park on the pit road. With the weather delay, the wind changed direction completely. They did not use this as a competition caution. Kyle Busch made contact with the wall and came down while the pit road was closed. The competition caution flag will wave. Several drivers decided for gas only to try to get to the front of the track. This did not work the favor of the teams as they went backward. Multiple playoff drivers already having issues with either the wind or tire vibration such as Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski. Martin Truex Jr then hits the wall and has a tire go down. Before the end of the stage, Ryan Blaney had an issue with a tire going flat. The things settle down and Kyle Larson will win stage one.
We get back to racing three wide to start stage two. Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and William Byron go racing. The lead battle comes down between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Chase Elliot will get the lead and keep it through most of the first portion of the stage. We start seeing green flag pit stops by drivers as Bubba Wallace was the first to hit pit road for needed fuel. Martin Truex Jr holds out until he stumbles and has to switch over to reserve. Joey Logano holds out and the last moment to pit. With him doing so the front tire changer rushes and the jackman dropped the jack before the lug nuts could be secured completely. Just before this is where Chase Elliott will lose the lead as his teammate passes him. William Byron will secure the lead for the second portion of stage two and get the stage two win.
Stage three begins and everything is about to get super busy. This is the final stage and could be a driver’s chance to ensure themselves a place in the championship four. We do get a quick caution for Anthony Alfredo and Bubba Wallace was caught speeding on pit road. Brad Keselowski was hoping for a caution that did not come until after he come down pit road. The temps on his car have gone up due to debris and the likelihood of the engine expiring was high. Ryan Newman had issues and spins out. We get back to racing and Austin Dillon makes contact with Ryan Blaney and Ryan makes hard contact with the wall. This will end Ryan Blaney’s day. Kyle Larson will take the lead back over. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott battle as Chase Elliott is running faster lap times than Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott is trying to catch Kyle Larson to win his way into the championship round. Chase starts bounding off the wall and that slows him down. This will slow Chase down enough that Kyle Larson will get the unofficial win at Kansas.