Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts and observations. Normally I do not offer statistics, although at times I may reference what different broadcasters, among others, have said or alluded to.
The weather was a bit cold for this race. It was 43 degrees with a bit of wind at times during the pre-race show. However, the invocation was good, and our National Anthem was also good. I did not catch the young lady’s name, but she was Military and did a great job.
Before they took the green flag, they talked on the radio with Joey Logano about the weather and how it would affect things in the race. He said it would be rough on the restarts, the track was good, and it was warm inside the car. There were socially distanced fans in the stands, and some were lying down on the grass to form a 14 to honor Clint Boyer. NASCAR also brought Clint to the front and behind the pace car for a lap to honor him since this is his home track and this will possibly be his last NASCAR race at the track.
The announcers in the broadcast booth told us this was the first race of the final 8 drivers to determine the final 4 for the championship race and the fans needed to remember there are drivers out there who are not in the chase. I really wanted to ask them if they could remember that and wanted to tell them they should talk about them also. From the starting lineup list, there were 40 drivers entered. However, we did not hear about all of them. If someone was pulling for a driver who was not in the playoff, they had to watch the scroll across the top to see where they were or if they were still in the race. I think this is possibly only one of the reasons that attendance has dropped. We all, especially children, would like to hear our favorite driver’s name. It never happens. One good thing was that they did tell us in advance that the post-race show would be on another channel.
The first stage went off without a hitch. There was some good racing at times, but we mostly heard about only the drivers in the chase. One thing that was obviously noticeable was that they did not mention Kyle Busch’s name at all. This seemed very strange. I am sure his fans wondered about him. There was a competition caution on lap 26 and William Byron came off pit road first as he only took 2 tires. After the restart, although he tried to block them, he was passed by a few cars and we did not hear his name again. After all, he is no longer in the chase. During the caution, Kurt Busch had a speeding penalty and had to start at the back. We saw some good racing between Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano for a few laps. Chase Elliot won stage 1.
Shortly after stage 2 started, I had some outside problems and missed part of it. Upon review, it seems I did not miss much. At Kansas, there normally is not much happening in the 2nd stage. After I was back, the green flag pit stops had begun. Most everyone had pitted but a few. Matt Kenseth spun because he thought he was clear of Eric Jones and could move up the track. However, they touched, which resulted in the spin, so a caution came out and shook up the running order a bit. Both cars had damage. During this caution, Chase Elliot pitted even though they did not want him to. This was caused by problems with his radio which he had been having and continued to have.
In the third stage, Denny Hamlin hit the wall and had to pit for right side tires as the back one was damaged, they thought. Not too long after that, Kurt Busch started losing power and while trying to find out what was happening, he blew up and that took him out of the race. This caused a caution with 69 laps to go. Hamlin took the wave around but knew he would have to pit again before the end of the race. He had luck when the caution came out when the #8, Tyler Reddick spun, and they called a caution for this. He got his lap back and the fuel he needed to finish the race when he pitted. Not too long after the restart, Jimmie Johnson hit the wall much like Reddick did. However, they did not call a caution for him which I am sure caused an “Ummmm” by many fans, including me. Inconsistent rules – again, by NASCAR.
There was some good racing by Logano and Harvick for the last 20 or so laps, and mostly that is all we saw on television. With 10 laps to go, I said to myself “This race is over”. During this time, we did see Alex Bowman in the 88 come up to third and almost pass Harvick. But…it did not happen so Logano finished first, Harvick second and Bowman third.
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