Kyle Busch captured his third win of the season in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was a strong night across Joe Gibbs Racing with all four cars showing speed. Matt Kenseth earned a fourth-place finish, while Carl Edwards rebounded from being two laps down at one point to finish 11th and a late-race accident left Denny Hamlin back in 37th.
Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota from the sixth position and was strong from the drop of the green flag as he raced his way into the top five. He would take his first lead of the day during a round of pit stops when crew chief Adam Stevens made the call for a two-tire stop on lap 26. Busch led the next 32 laps and he would race primarily inside the top five the remainder of the night. He would regain the lead with 37 laps remaining and held it through a couple of late restarts including the final one with 19 laps remaining. He would manage to hold that top spot through the restart and all the way to the finish despite pressure from the 4 car. The win was Busch’s third of the season and his first ever at Kansas Speedway.
Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the second position and was able to hold that spot through the opening green flag run of the race. He would battle a mostly tight handling race car much of the evening but crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the Dollar General crew would make the adjustments needed for Kenseth to compete with the leaders. He was running second on lap 148 and remained inside the top five the remainder of the evening. He would restart second to the inside of his teammate and race leader Kyle Busch with 19 laps remaining but wasn’t able to make the pass for the top spot as the outside lane was the preferred line on this night. Kenseth would drop back two more spots on the final run to finish with a strong fourth-place effort.
Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the 12th position and was able to race his way into the top ten through the early portion of the race. He would make contact with the outside wall on lap 74 which caused his right rear tire to start to go down. Edwards tried to make a quick move down the track several laps later to get to his pit stall for new tires, but as he hit the brakes he began to spin on the apron forcing him to come back onto the track to regain control and miss his entry onto pit road. Edwards would have to slowly make his way around the track and onto to pit road. By the time the sequence was over he was back in 35th and two laps down. The STANLEY team never gave up however and Edwards would fight his way back to the lead lap. He would go on to finish the night in 11th.
Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the third position but battled early handling conditions and dropped back outside the top five during the opening green flag run. He would lose track position during a round of pit stops when he entered the pit stall with the steering wheel slightly off center making it a bit more difficult to make the necessary tire changes. He would drop back outside the top 15 but the FedEx Freight crew would continue to work and Hamlin managed to drive his way back toward the front of the field and into the top ten. The 11 would be working his way back toward the top five with 27 laps remaining when he was caught in the middle of a three wide situation that ultimately sent several cars spinning and led to an accident. Hamlin would have to take the car to the garage and he would finish the night in 37th.
Kyle Busch captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick in second, Kurt Busch third, Kenseth fourth, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 30 laps and 16 lead changes among 10 different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway next Sunday afternoon. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Sunday, May 15 at 12:30 PM (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.