This 400-mile race came down to the final 30 laps.
Stage One of the KC Masterpiece 400 saw hard-fought and clean battles as all drivers did their best to better their position. When Stage One came to a close on Lap 80, it was Ryan Blaney in the #12 Ford who got the playoff points. Stage Two also ran without incident while Kyle Larson in the #42 made a dominating performance and finished the segment ahead of the rest of the field despite starting the race at the back due to tire changes after his spinout during qualifying.
The action started on Lap 236 when Daniel Suarez got loose coming out of Turn 2 and tangled with Alex Bowman. Both drivers had flat/cut tires and had to make unscheduled pit stops. Suarez and Bowman finished 28th and 18th respectively.
Only 7 laps later, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney made contact in Turn 1 on Lap 248, when Blaney aggressively tried to side-draft Larson in an attempt to slow him down. Blaney, who had led 54 laps before the accident, slammed into the left-rear quarter panel of the #42 followed by the Turn 1 wall. Blaney was out of the race and finished 37th. Larson, on the other hand, repaired damage and got new tires on his pit stop thus allowing him to charge through the field to a fourth-place finish.
The most violent accident of the night happened in Turn 4 on Lap 253 and was the set-up for the final restart of the night. It started as William Byron got loose underneath Clint Bowyer’s Ford and knocked Bowyer up the track. Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet slammed into the outside wall with an impact hard enough to lift the rear of the car off the pavement. Byron’s car then landed on the hood of Ryan Newman’s Chevrolet and slid down the track in a bright fireball. In total, seven cars were involved in the wreck, including the No. 6 Ford of Matt Kenseth, who finished 36th in his first race of the season.
The final 7 laps were intense as Martin Truex Jr took the lead and quickly began to pull away from the rest of the field. Kevin Harvick in the #4 Busch Beer car, who had been the pole-sitter for the race, restarted 6th and found speed in the top lane with five laps to go.
Truex’s lead grew smaller and smaller by the second as Harvick approached and then passed Truex on the outside through Turns 3 and 4 on the second-last lap. Truex tried to make a move coming to the finish line but could reach the #4. This was Harvick’s 5th win so far in the season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway next week for the All-Star race. Get your tickets HERE!