The Final Word – A fine weekend at Kansas might be a prelude to a similar fine time in Charlotte

It was a fine weekend. Sure, you may think I say that due to Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhard, Jr. and Jeff Gordon coming across the line in that order in Kansas. Okay, there might be some truth in that.

Our family got together to celebrate a 3-year-old’s birthday, and that was fun. We visited with my mother in her big day on Sunday. I did not actually get to watch the race until about 1:30 in the dark on Sunday morning, thus the rain delay lasted only minutes for me. That was a very good thing. Oh, did I mention the finish?

This is not to say a good time was had by all. Joey Logano had a hard-charging entry, but a couple of miscues on pit road left him continually having to come back through the field. He got as far as fifth before time ran out. Not bad, but he could have had more.

For some, running in the Top 30 is a big deal, as it turned out to be for the likes of Michael Annett, Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Dillon, Josh Wise and Landon Cassill. Not Top 20’s, grant you, but good enough for a moral victory of sorts.

Danica Patrick was a Top 30 car, but 27th is nothing to brag about, especially now that she has tumbled out of a Chase place. Yet, it was better than the days barely tolerated by some others. Trevor Bayne is with Roush-Fenway, a good place from which to race, one would think. Not if 31st is your fate. David Ragan went to MWR, but after a trip through the mud he wallowed in 33rd. Tony Stewart? Well, he looked good early, then he checked up to avoid a mishap ahead of him. Too bad Brett Moffitt did not. He ran into Tony, who then hit the wall, and any hope for a good day went up in…er…smoke. Thirty-ninth is not what he needed.

Another great day for Hendrick, with a winner and two more in the Top Five, with Kasey Kahne back in 17th. Stewart-Haas had a couple up front, with Kurt Busch getting a Top Ten, while the other two were deep in the woods. Penske had a pair of Top Tens, Matt Kenseth was sixth for Gibbs but Carl Edwards had to be content with 20th. Erik Jones looked great in his debut, at least until he lost it late to kill the car against the fence, while Denny Hamlin’s car went for junk late as the latter pair finished 40th and 41st.

Another very competitive day for Furniture Row’s Martin Truex Jr., though he had to settle for ninth in the end, yet only trails Harvick in points garnered. That elusive win does not seem too far off. As for Roush Fenway, Greg Biffle was 12th. The rest were outside the Top Twenty. In fact, not a one of them can be found amongst the Top Twenty in the season standings. They can only dream of being as good as Danica, and that is not saying much.

This Saturday, it’s on to Charlotte and the All-Star race. Winners since the 2014 Daytona 500 right through to Kansas are eligible to run, along with all previous All-Star winners still running full-time, the top two from the preliminary showdown earlier Saturday, and a fan vote for a favorite. Last year, Josh Wise was the beneficiary of a social media campaign, which he no doubt thought was great, though I thought was rather stupid and undeserving. Then again, what do I know?

Well, I do know I’ll be watching to see if Mr. Johnson can win again at Charlotte and take his fifth classic. Maybe Harvick will be up there. Maybe Junior. Hasn’t Gordon won this three times? Come to think of it, a repeat of last weekend this upcoming weekend might be rather fine.

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.


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