22 April 2013
2013 Kansas NASCAR: Kenseth clinches a second for JGR
Kenseth's team mate Kyle Busch had also been for a harmless spin of his own on lap 6. Despite coming off a high after sweeping Texas last week, Busch approached Kansas with trepidation as it's always been a bogey track for him that he simply can't seem to get to grips with, especially since the recent repaving project has made it super-smooth.
"Running third doing fine, car a little tight and you spin out. Don't know what to do with that and then we're back in traffic all day," he said of that early setback. "Traffic is way worse. Just trying to get back up to the front and making some gains, but car just snaps out from you every corner.”
The #18 did the same again on lap 103, and this time with devastating consequences: not only did Busch take a hard impact into the wall at turn 4, but then the car slid down the banking and collected the speeding #22 Penske Racing car despite Joey Logano's best attempts at avoidance. Both cars were absolutely wrecked by the impact.
“I watched the #18 and he was spinning out, and I saw it the whole time," recalled Logano afterwards. “It looked like he was going to stay up there because he kind of slapped the wall with the right side after he hit it the first time, so I'm like, 'All right, I'm gonna gun it and get by him [down] here.' And as soon as I committed to that, I saw him start coming back down."
Coming on top of the serious penalties and suspensions dolled out to the Penske team mid-week for rules transgressions at Texas, it's been a depressing week for the team. Logano himself has plummeted to 20th position in the Sprint Cup standings after the events of the last seven days.
"We weren't gonna gain many points this weekend, but we were gonna try to rally for the best possible finish we could get out of it, but it's not good for us," Logano admitted.
The departure of one of his JGR team mates from the race also seemed to sap some of Kenseth's early dominance, as divergent race strategies saw the #20 losing the lead of the race at the restart to Martin Truex Jr. Jimmie Johnson and then Carl Edwards, Kenseth's old team mate at Roush Fenway Racing, subsequently perked up and took over the lead for a spell, but it was surely when Edwards handed off the race lead to his rookie team mate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. that Kenseth got fired up again. Stenhouse was at the wheel of the #17 car that had been Kenseth's home for the better part of a decade: getting back in front was now a point of principle!
Before he could do so there was cautions for Kenseth's sole remaining JGR team mate Brian Vickers (sitting in for Denny Hamlin) spinning in turn 2 on lap 174, and a multi-car accident on lap 182 that wrecked Sam Hornish Jr. Casey Mears and also caught up Marcos Ambrose, Danica Patrick and David Gilliland.
"I was rolling the top there and the #9 [Ambrose] got loose," explained Mears. "He was loose for a long time and I slowly, slowly checked up and the #38 [Gilliland] never did and tagged the back of me. We probably would have just spun off into the infield, but we collected whoever spun with us and tore the car up really bad. It's just a bad day."
"I couldn't see anything," Hornish admitted. "I saw the back of the [Gilliland] and then I saw the #9 [Ambrose] sitting sideways right at the exit of the corner. I lifted and turned down, which made my hit to the inside wall harder because as soon as you lift and put all that weight up there it gives me enough turn to try to get away from the #9, but then I can't get it back in the other direction."
Joe Gibbs Racing
Sam Hornish Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
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