By Taylor Long
The Monster Energy Cup Series was back at Kansas this Mother’s Day weekend, and NASCAR is finally headed back in the right direction. Past races at Kansas have proved to be the perfect background for a nap, the tinkering has finally given us something worth watching.
It has been no secret that NASCAR has been experimenting with new aero and horsepower packages to make racing more exciting. Up to this point in 2019 it has been hit or miss at best. While Talladega continued its streak of exciting finishes, the 1.5-mile tracks are catching up quickly.
For the majority of the first half of the race, Kevin Harvick looked unbeatable as a mixture of Ford Horsepower and clean air looked to give us the typical Kansas affair. Harvick cruised to an easy stage 1 win, in route to leading a race high 105 laps.
In Stage 2, Chase Elliott grabbed the lead, and marked a distinct return to competitiveness for Team Chevy. They’ve struggled out of the gate, but leading laps early at a non-superspeedway is a turning point for Hendrick this year. Elliott would go on to win stage 2 and set up a dramatic finish.
The last stage was by far the most eventful, with a 25-lap run, and a green-white-checkered shootout to determine the winner. For most of the race, clean air proved to be an advantage, but with the entire field bunched up, tires were king. The larger spoilers kept everyone close, and Elliott relinquished the lead to teammate Alex Bowman with 20 laps to go.
Bowman attempted to hold off challengers but was eventually caught by Brad Keselowski while attempting to navigate traffic. A caution would come out, leading to an overtime finish in which Keselowski was able to hold off Eric Jones and Alex Bowman. Bowman finished second for the 3rd straight race. Only Kyle Larson has finished 2nd 3 consecutive times in the current field of drivers.
After the race, fireworks continued as Clint Bowyer expressed frustration with Erik Jones. Let’s all hope Clint Bowyer never changes. While they didn’t get the W, Chevys did capture 7 out of the top 10 finishes, as they look to take on the mighty Fords the rest of the year. More importantly, NASCAR has finally given us a mile and a half track that can produce great finishes. IF only Brian France had gotten that DUI much earlier.
Look for the action packed racing to continue, as the series closes its first third, and heads to Charlotte for the fan favorite All-Star Weekend.