The Left Turn

NASCAR heads for the Heartland at Kansas Speedway

Alex Bowman/Facebook


This weekend, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads for Kansas Motor Speedway for the Digital-Ally 400. This track is very similar to many of the tracks we see on the schedule, it is a mile and half oval. The track has plenty of lanes to pass which has allowed for a lot of side by side racing. One of the key factors of the race to look out for is fuel mileage. While it may seem like stage racing has nearly eliminated this style of racing, with the amount of long green flag runs we see here at this track I still think it could play a big part in deciding who wins this weekend, look for this to be a major point of contingency on Saturday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr went on to cruise to his second victory of 2019. When the dust settled, MTJ won by a whopping nine seconds over Alex Bowman. This was quite a feat for both Truex and Bowman after both of their qualifying times were disallowed for failing pre-race inspection. After the race, like many other instances this season a lot of the drivers and owners took issue with NASCAR's new rules package here at dover. Easily the biggest critic this week was 2015 champion Kyle Busch. After being asked by NASCAR Journalist Claire B Lang what he thought, He was quoted as saying "Oh the package sucks. No Question about it's terrible." Many people were dismissive of his comments, after all he does have a long history of calling NASCAR out on things like this when he doesn't win. I understand why fans and media members think this is just another case of Kyle being Kyle but, it's important to note that he wasn't the only person saying this. One of NASCAR's elder statesmen Kevin Harvick also talked about how difficult it was to pass and how much NASCAR drivers and owners have tried to offer solutions just to be ignored. I know that these guys do a job where they are paid well and it's something a lot of us wish we could do but I can definitely understand how frustrating it's got to be to continue to provide stable input on how to make the racing better only to be ignored by NASCAR and dismissed by certain media members.

Going into Kansas, Alex Bowman appears to be on a hot-streak with back to back second place finishes. He is the driver that I have going to victory lane this Saturday. For those that know me well enough, Bowman has always been a driver that I have really campaigned for. Ever since he filled in for Dale Jr back in 2016, he was always competitive and a threat to finish in the top 10 and now he has steadily improved to a driver that can contend for victories. While Kansas hasn't been that great of a track for Bowman results wise, I believe that hendrick motorsports has continued to improve week by week after getting that elusive first win at Talladega with Chase Elliot. I think that Alex has really found a rhythm here and is next in line to claim his first career win, look for the showman to go to victory lane come saturday.

Kyle Larson appears to finally found some good luck after last week's third place finish. He will be another driver who will contend this weekend. Over the course of his ten starts here, the results have not been what Larson and his team would want to hang their hats on, only once has he finished top five here and while the finishes haven't been so great it shouldn't be overshadowed that in those ten starts, larson has lead a considerable amount of laps they have just had bad luck happen that derail their day but this weekend, I think they will change that and get another solid finish at Kansas.


(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

This week, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads for Charlotte Motor Speedway for their memorial day classic, the Coca Cola 600. This is one of NASCAR's crown-jewel events as it's the longest race on the schedule. The race is known for how challenging it is on the car and drivers endurance and even though there have been a few dominating performances as of late this race usually comes down to attrition so surviving this race is the most important factor of getting a good result.

In last week's All-Star race there were plenty of headlines to talk about. When the dust settled, Kyle Larson captured the victory and the million dollars after going nearly four-wide to make the pass for the lead in the closing stages of the race. While Larson and his crew celebrated, Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman were involved in one of NASCAR's more memorable dust ups in recent memory. On the cool-down lap, Ryan Newman ran into the side of Clint Bowyer's Ford mustang causing him to spin head-on into the wall. After this Newman was then greeted by a series of hay-makers from Clint as he was still strapped in the car. After he was done, Bowyer retreated back to his wrecked race car before Newman could exit. This altercation definitely got people talking, even Bowyer's boss Tony Stewart weighed in. Earlier this week, Stewart told his employee that "If he was going to get into a fight at least take your helmet off. No matter how you look at it, this fight brought a lot of people to the sport and in my opinion, this is what makes NASCAR so great. I am sure that both guys will hash it out and get back to racing this week."

Overall what really got overshadowed last weekend was how great the racing was. There were two photo-finishes in the open and lots of battles for position and there were also some great runs by drivers trying to get their season turned around; Darrell Wallace Jr was the prime example. While he may have not won the All-Star race, the second year driver stole the show. He was able to scratch and claw his way into the race by edging out Daniel Suarez at the end of Segment two of "The All-Star Open" and then he went on to have a great run by finishing fifth. The other example was Larson who would wind up winning the main event. He also had to transfer to the All-Star race by virtue of the All-Star open. It has been no secret that it has been a tough year for both drivers so maybe with their success this can really boost their confidence for the rest of the season.

The driver I have winning here this week is William Byron. Throughout the history of this race, we have seen many drivers claim their first win here in the Coca Cola 600. This is the race where Hall of Fame drivers like Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte were able to really kind of establish themselves as elite drivers. This week, I think we see kind of a new era begin. Overall, I have been critical of Byron in the past but there has been no denying this young man can drive a race car. He proved that on Friday by capturing the pole for Sunday's race. This track hasn't been kind to the young driver as he finished thirty-ninth here last season, but it's important to note that 2018 was his rookie year. He now enters his race with arguably the greatest crew-chief of all time and a rookie season under his belt. Look for Byron to take the #24 car back to victory lane come Sunday.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).


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