The Final Word – Kansas leaves us with just two contenders…or does it?

Sometimes I like surprises. You tune in a race hoping to be entertained, but not always expecting it. Kansas turned out to be that kind of race.

Not everyone enjoys surprises. Danica Patrick, I am sure, did not expect to win last Sunday, but she probably had hopes of lasting more than a lap. Kyle Busch has rarely done well at Kansas, but he was hoping. He took some slings and arrows throughout, at least until he got spun to tear the front end off his car to put an end to his day early. He then slipped down to fifth in points behind race winner Kevin Harvick and the third place Jeff Gordon.

Harvick’s third win of the season, and 22nd of his career, moved him to within 25 points of Matt Kenseth. Kenseth got a pit penalty early that dropped him from first to 30th at the time, only to recover to wrap the day up in 11th, just five spots behind Jimmie Johnson to retain a 3 point advantage.  Kurt Busch was second best on the day, but he sits 47 out, leaving Kenseth and Johnson in a two way fight, barring bad things going their way over the next six events.

No surprise that Chasers Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, and Dale Earnhardt Jr finished in the top ten last weekend. It also should come as no surprise to see that matters little until the two leaders falter. Ryan Newman  got a surprise when he got clipped to pretty much skin his ride, leaving him 35th, a spot behind Rowdy. The junior Busch is 35 back, Newman is 38 behind even him. Say goodnight, Irene.

Rating Kansas – 9/10 – Some races need the assistance of an announce team to keep us entertained. Some are entertaining on their own, and the ESPN trio were more than good enough to keep folks watching this time out. The track was slick and treacherous, providing more than a few  unexpected surprises.

Traditionally, Charlotte and Talladega tend to be rather entertaining and those are our next two stops on the tour. Jimmie Johnson has six previous victories in North Carolina and is tied for second among active drivers with the best average finish.  If I were a betting man, I would not be surprised to see Five Time taking over the Chase standings when they are done this Saturday night, but I would also bet Mr. Kenseth to pick up a Top Ten to remain close.

Jeff Gordon could win. He has five at Charlotte. Kasey Kahne has four, and could do well. Carl Edwards has yet to be victorious there, but he seems to have decent finishes. Still, until the top two slip, it all does not mean that much.  That is, unless Harvick repeats his spring performance and wins another this weekend.  That could cause us to rethink things when they venture to Alabama, a place where surprises are totally expected. In the meantime, enjoy the week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


  1. Nascar in it’s wisdom did not see that the chase contenders should have their own points system. All it takes is one bad finish not to have a chance to win the title. They should have their own system, 2 for winning and then a point for each succeeding place. It would go down to the last race to see who would be the champion or else get rid of the chase altogether.


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