If the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway had to be described using a movie title, the most appropriate would be “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.
The Good: Sophomore driver Ryan Blaney was able to get his first career pole. He started the race up front and led for 83 laps over the course of the 267-lap race. Blaney also got his 2nd stage win of the season when he won Stage 2. Rookie Daniel Saurez also had a good night, tieing his career best finish of 7th place.
The Bad: The race tied the track record for most cautions ever with 15 yellow flags. Rookie Erik Jones caused a handful of those after losing control and spinning…. in the same place… 3 different times. To be fair, however, he got a little push the third time from fellow rookie Ty Dillon
For Chase Elliott, trouble started early in the race while pitting from the 4th position under caution. When exiting his pit after taking 2 tires, Elliott collided with the No. 95 of Michael McDowell who was entering his pit box 2 boxes ahead of Elliott’s. The two tangled and Elliott ended up spinning McDowell. Elliott went on to finish 9 laps down in the 29th position. Nevertheless, this didn’t end up hurting his points standing as he is still 4th.
The Ugly: With 68 laps to go, Danica Patrick and Joey Logano were running 11th and 12th respectively. Without warning, a mechanical failure in Logano’s car caused him to abruptly turn left into Patrick’s right rear. This sent Patrick up the track and hard into the SAFER barrier. Logano also got into the wall. While trying the slowdown, the 43 of Aric Almirola lost control and began to slide straight for Logano and Patrick. Almirola collided with Logano with such force that the rear end of the 43 flipped high into the air. Patrick erupted in flames and all 3 cars we totalled. Video of the accident can be found at the bottom of this article. Somehow, Logano and Patrick were able to walk away from the accident physically unharmed, however, both were noticeably shaken afterwards. Aric Almirola, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well.
Safety workers and medical personnel had to cut the roof off of the #43 car to lift Almirola out. He was taken on a stretcher to the infield care center where they quickly determined he needed the care of a hospital. Almirola was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center where he was found to have a compression fraction on the T5 vertebrae. He was mobile and released from hospital the following morning, but will take time to heal. Expect news from Petty Motorsports soon.
The Good: Luckily, the race finished with some positivity as Martin Truex Jr finally got redemption at Kansas and won. Three times in the past, Truex has led the most laps in a Kansas race and didn’t win. This is Truex’s ninth win in the cup series and second in the 2017 season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 the next two weekends. Tickets to either race can be purchased HERE