Thursday, Jul 07
Kaleb Vestal

Kaleb Vestal

Hey everyone! My name is Kaleb Vestal and I'm 20 years old from Missouri. I am currently the Head Sports Editor at the Nevada Daily Mail Newspaper in Nevada, Mo. and I've been following motorsports since 2012. Hope you guys enjoy my content! I have a podcast about NASCAR called Katchin' Up with Kaleb on Youtube! Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Since his tenure in the Xfinity Series, Tyler Reddick had the makings to become a NASCAR phenom in the future. One would only expect that after his two Xfinity Series Championships for JRM and RCR in ‘18 and ‘19, that he would bring tons of momentum over to Richard Childress Racing No. 8 Chevy Camaro in his rookie year in 2020 and be in contention to win every week. 

While that is the case, he never did get his luck turned around to put his car into victory lane after so many times he dominated week by week. That is until this past Sunday on the fourth of July weekend, that Reddick pulled his Caterpillar Chevrolet into victory lane, at one of the most historic road courses in the United States. 

“It was just a huge sense of relief,” said Reddick in the media center after scoring his first Cup Series win. “This whole team, we’ve been at it for a couple years now together, and even some of us back to the Xfinity Series days. A lot of great people have helped an immense amount along the way, and it’s just — what a crazy ride it’s been, and just had to put a lot into it. All of us have. It’s really nice to get it finally done.”

The race throughout the day was a clean event to say the least, as the only cautions were for the two stage breaks in the middle of the event, and only two laps were run under the yellow flag conditions. Only three cars in the event out of the 37 entered had mechanical issues throughout the race. Loris Hezemans in the No. 27 car for Team Hezeberg with fuel pump issue), and Bubba Wallace in the No. 23 for 23XI Racing as well as Austin Dillon in the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing (brake issues).

Reddick had to battle the road course king of Chase Elliott, who had dominated the race up by leading 36 of the 62 laps, and passed him on lap 48 to lead the final 16 laps of the event and earn his first win in NASCAR’s top division. Elliott started on pole and looked unstoppable on the track, even when his car started to develop a steering issue throughout the 250 miles at Elkhart Lake, Wis.

The main question after Sunday’s festivities at the famed circuit is if it will or will not be a part of the 2023 calendar when it gets released later on this summer. Ton’s of talk throughout the media is that it will be replaced with a shorter 2.2 mile track in the streets of Chicago. But did the quiet paced race at Road America seal the deal for it to be on the new and improved schedule? Or did it dig its own grave? Only time will tell if NASCAR belongs in the cheese state. 

Next week, NASCAR returns to the famous Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., and the new configuration of the 1.5 mile track that drives more like a Superspeedway track. That race will be carried live on USA, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, starting around 3 p.m. Eastern. 

After nearly three hours worth of rain/lightning delays in Lebanon, Tenn., at the Nashville Superspeedway, Chase Elliott in his #9 Chevy Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series interrupted Joe Gibbs Racing’s dominant race at the Music City, and won himself the famous Gibson Guitar trophy. “We’ve had a pretty rough month and a half,” said Elliott on the frontretch of Nashville Superspeedway talking to Marty Snyder of NBC Sports. “So just nice to get back going the right direction. Getting a win is always huge. To do it in a really cool city like Nashville is even better. Looking forward to that guitar.”

While one of the four Hendrick Motorsports ended up having a good night, the three other bowtie drivers wished that their weekend in Tennessee had turned out better. Alex Bowman (Who drove the sponsor , William Byron, and defending race winner from last year at Nashville Kyle Larson all had issues at some point in the race. Bowman (carrying the race sponsor Ally on his Camaro) and Byron finished 36th and 35th respectively, while Larson rebounded after a pit road speeding penalty to finish in fourth. 

Rain was the name of the game for the Ally 400, as the race was stopped on lap 41 after lightning struck near the facility and halted the race for just over an hour. Then the race went back to green, until lap 140 when a pop up thunderstorm drilled the 1.333 mile superspeedway with lightning, heavy rain, and powerful winds. It wasn’t until around 10 p.m. Eastern that the track was finally dried enough to have cars back on the speedway. They finally restarted the race, just 10 laps shy from the halfway mark to call the race official. 

As previously mentioned, Joe Gibbs Racing in their Toyota Camry’s dominated the majority of the 300 laps at Nashville, but lost the lead when the final caution came out in the evening on lap 293. Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin dove down into pit road to take on new tires and fuel, while the eventual race winner Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Blaney (who spun earlier in the event after having a loose race car) stayed out on the racetrack, and finished in that order in the race. 

Kyle Busch wanted to stay out of the pits, but crew chief for the #18 car Ben Beshore convinced Kyle that taking two tires would be the right move. The cars who stayed out made it much tougher to pass to try to contend for the win, and Kyle was visibly upset about the call that was made on top of the pit box. 

After his second win of the year, Elliott takes over the lead in the points standings over the #1 of Ross Chastain. Next week, both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series take on the four mile road course of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Elliott, in his seventh year in NASCAR's top series,  looks to be a contender there as seven of his 15 career wins have been on road courses. The NASCAR Xfinity Series in the Henry 180 will begin on Saturday, July 2nd, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The NASCAR Cup Series will race the Kwik Trip 250 on Sunday, July 3rd, at 3 p.m. Eatsern. Both races will be carried live on USA, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

Even in the lone off weekend the NASCAR Cup Series gets this year, Todd Gilliland couldn’t stay away from a race car (or in this case race truck). To top it off, he got the job done at Knoxville Raceway Saturday night while driving for his father’s David Gilliland Racing in the No. 17 Ford F-150 on the half mile short track. And of all weekends he won for DGR, he won on Fathers Day weekend.” 

“This is just so fun,” said Todd in the post race press conference 20 minutes after winning at Knoxville. “I love Truck racing, I love dirt racing, and I love DGR. I’m super proud of everyone at DGR.” David Gilliland explained to the media members that this deal for Todd to drive the truck wasn’t completed until last Monday. It’s his one off weekend of the year, and he wants to do nothing but race. It was a special win from the owner's side since it was Father’s Day weekend and to win with Todd. The track was great tonight, better than last year since we had all of the track prep, and it was great all around.” 

Todd explained why he would want to drive in the NASCAR Truck Series race on his lone off weekend of the year. “When you grow up in a racing family, I feel like racing is really just a hobby. Whether it turns into a professional career or not, I just love racing, and it feels like a hobby to me. The Cup Series is definitely really stressful, so to come out here and to be relaxed, have fun, and win is great.” 

Like the elder Gilliland referred to, the racing tonight was a major upgrade than the green white checkered wreck fest that occurred last July. The Trucks were able to create a cushion on the flat dirt surface in Southern Iowa, which may be new to NASCAR but not for long time dirt fans. The cushion of dirt was able to produce side by side action, rather than the one lane grove like the inaugural race last year. Ben Rhodes in the pits Saturday afternoon said that he was afraid of the track laying down rubber like the inaugural event last summer, but that certainly wasn’t the case.

Grant Enfinger also mentioned the fear of the track laying down too much water on the track. He was afraid if that was done, you would see the nose opening be pancaked full of mud and would result in blown engines or overheating. The Clean Harbors 150 only saw one overheating issue with Rhodes back early in stage one, but was quickly resolved and had o further issues throughout the night.  

While Todd said that the Saturday night for the trucks was fun, others wished it didn’t end the way it did. Driver of the No. 42 Carson Hocevar was dominant all race long in the beginning portions, until a blown engine ruined his night to just a 35th place finish. 2022 Gateway Dirt Nationals champion Tyler Carpenter, who won his way to a one off start in the No. 41 for Niece Motorsports, had an issue early in the race that landed him his first last place finishes in the top three national series of NASCAR. 

All in all, the 2022 running of the Clean Harbors 150 at Knoxville Raceway took two hours, 12 minutes, and seven seconds to complete, with an average speed of 34.061 mph. The race had nine cautions for 45 laps under the lights and had six lead changes with a margin of victory of 0.945 seconds over John Hunter Nemecheck in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra. 



From starting at Joe Gibbs Racing, then transforming into a Ford driver at Stewart Haas Racing, and even to the Gaunt Brothers team where he had a little to no shot at victory, Daniel Suarez kept faith that he would be a record breaker in the NASCAR scene. He did exactly that in the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro for TrackHouse Racing at the Sonoma Raceway Sunday afternoon, in route to his first Cup Series win in his sixth full time season. 

“It has cost me a lot to get to this point,” remarked Suarez after his memorable victory. “A lot of people don't know that, but it has cost me a lot to get to this country first 10 years ago, and to get to this point, fighting. I come from a very humble family. Every step of my life has cost me a lot.” 

Suarez battled for his first career win against four fast Fords of Buescher, McDowell, Harvick, and Cindric, some of the best road course ringers in the top division of NASCAR. But not all had such a fun trip to wine country this weekend, even to go as far as to say that they wished they never made the trip to Northern California. 

Bubba Wallace had an engine expire on him heading into the chute at Sonoma on just lap 9 of the 110 lap event. Kyle Larson, who had one the previous Toyota SaveMart 350 just one year ago in 2021, had a tire fall off of his Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet after a pit stop in the middle of the race. That means Larson's Crew Chief, Cliff Daniels, will more than likely go on a four week suspension for that failure. 

One noticeable change from the last two trips to Sonoma was that NASCAR was utilizing its short course again, the first time since 2018. This was also the second road course of the six schedule in NASCAR's 36 race schedule. The next time we will see the Cup superstars turning left and right will be at the famous Road America on the fourth of July weekend. But for now, NASCAR’s top division will take its only off weekend this next Sunday, and will get ready for a 20 straight weeks of racing starting at Nashville Superspeedway on June 26th. The only NASCAR action next week is the NASCAR CampingWorld Truck Series making its annual trip to Knoxville Raceway for the Clean Harbors 150. That race will start at 9 p.m. Eastern on FS1, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. 

Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske, pulled away from the field on the final restart to win the Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway. He talked about his success on new venues with his three wins at inaugural events and said, “I think it is a combination of things. I think our team did a great job and they did it quickly. This weekend was kind of different because of the fact that all of us (referring to the three Team Penske drivers) were really good. 

“All of us had really good speed in the car. You have to be so fast when adapting to these new race tracks as far as how you race, call the race, and doing restarts. You have to be open minded to win at these new venues.”But his second points-paying win of the 2022 regular season didn’t come without controversy throughout the day. It all started on lap 28, when the pole sitter and leader at the time Chase Briscoe, wrecked in turns one and two after a left rear tire failure. Austin Cindric would lead after his tire blowout, and would go on to win stage one and collect his 10 points and one playoff point. 

Then the controversy that took place during the middle of the race was when Ross Chastain took out Denny Hamlin on lap 66 in turn one. Hamlin then tried to retaliate several times during the course of the race, most notably when he ran Chastain all the way down to the field grass on the back straightaway of the racetrack. That wouldn’t be the last of Chastain though, as he would start another incident that would involve the No. 9 of Chastain and then No. 23 of Bubba Wallace, who drives for Denny Hamlin's team 23XI Racing, on lap 103. 

Several drivers led in the first running of the Enjoy Illinois 300. Michael McDowell, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., and many others were out front during the 240 laps in the event, but it was clear that it was either going to Kyle Busch or Joey Logano. On the final restart from a caution on lap 237 due to a hard hit by Kevin Harvick from a loose wheel, Kyle picked the outside lane to restart in, which would eventually hurt him in the long run. Although he did have the lead on the back stretch with two laps to go, Logano passed him to take the white flag, and eventually win in Madison, Ill. 

Kyle Busch on why he chose the outside on the final restart. “My car was better on the outside, but it did take a couple of laps to get set in. I thought Joey (Logano) taking the bottom would help him to put him with my teammate and my brother (Kurt Busch) would start behind me, but I couldn’t do hand signals because Joey was half a car beside me looking at my hand to see when I would go. He just timed a good restart on me and Kurt wasn’t there to help so we didn’t have anything for him getting into turn one.”

Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Logano and the No. 22 crew, hasn’t visited World Wide Technology Raceway since October of 2010, where he and former Penske driver Brad Keselowski scored the last race at Gateway for the Xfinity Series. When asked on what it's like to win in his return visit to the track, he said, “It’s special to win anytime in the Cup Series these days. This level of racing is so hard and to be  able to do it in the Cup level, which is a whole other league, it's special. It’s neat for me at least since the last time I was here was 12 years ago and coming out here to win is great. I forgot a lot of things about this track. The track did a great job of preparing for us to race here and I’m sure Joey had a lot of fun racing today and winning the event.” 

All in all with a sell out crowd of over 57,000 people in the stands and thousand’s of more in the infield/walkways, it is safe to say that the greater St Louis area loves their NASCAR racing. The energy throughout the entire weekend was electric, and they look forward to hosting more Cup Series action in the upcoming years. 

The time of the race was three hours, seven minutes, and 34 seconds, and had an average speed of 97.965 mph with 10 caution flags for 53 of the 245 laps ran Sunday afternoon (overtime finish with the total miles being 306.25). The race had 12 lead changes throughout nine different drivers with 36 in total starting the race, and the margin of victory between Logano and Kyle Busch was 0.655 seconds. 

Next week the Xfinity Series has Saturday and Sunday off, but the Cup and Truck Series will take place at the famous Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Cal. The NASCAR CampingWorld Truck Series will race the DoorDash 250, starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern with coverage by FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Then the Cup Series races the Toyota Save Mart 350 on Sunday starting at 3:30 p.m. Eastern with coverage on FS1, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 



In his second career season in the NASCAR Cup Series, Chase Briscoe in his No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart Haas Racing, scored his first career pole at World Wide Technology Raceway with a time of 32.544 seconds. “It felt like our car in practice was a really good car,” said Briscoe in the media center after qualifying. “Probably a third or fourth place car really. That first round of qualifying, it felt like I didn’t run a very good lap at all being truthful. To see how fast it was today, I knew we would be very good going into the second round of qualifying. I overdrove the second round lap I felt like but we were able to hold it off which is super cool.”

With his first pole and win coming on coming on very similar tracks in the same year, could Chase Briscoe be a championship favorite? Why not? The points are so even that this championship could go to anyone. Briscoe commenting on the matter said, “We have to get to Phoenix first. It doesn't matter how good you are there. If you would have asked me that four or five weeks ago, I would have said no way. But we have gotten back to where we were at the beginning of the season and I feel like we have our speed back. This NextGen also plays a ton of factors in it so we will just have to see.”

The top 10 starters in Sunday’s race in the Enjoy Illinois 300 will be No. 14 Chase Briscoe in first, No. 2 Austin Cindric in second, No. 20 Christopher Bell in third, No. 8 Tyler Reddick in fourth, No. 12 Ryan Blaney in fifth, No. 11 Denny Hamlin in sixth, No. 22 Joey Logano in seventh, No. 10 Aric Almirola in eighth, No. 21 Harrison Burton in ninth, and No. 1 Ross Chastain in 10th. Since this is the Inaugural event at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison Ill., that means that technically Chase Briscoe holds the track record for the fastest time in a Cup Series car. 

After a 50 minute practice session, Joey Logano and his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang topped the speed charts with a time of 32.906 seconds and an average speed of 136.753 mph. “The memories are coming back from 2008,” Logano said about his practice time and his lone Xfinity Series start at the track. “It is smoother than it was back then. Moving around, trying new things, shifting. It's fun to get off the gas, hit the break, and use both pedals in the car again.” The Ford Mustangs had four of the top seven spots in the lone practice session for the NASCAR Cup Series, and look to be a contender in qualifying tomorrow and on the race Sunday. 

Ryan Blaney scored the second fastest with a time of 33.025 seconds. Based on his prior experience at World Wide Technology, Ryan said, “It took me a minute to kind of remember the place since it was 8 years ago since I've been here. I think racing here before helped me a little bit. Harrison Burton was fast right out of the gate and he has been here recently in the Trucks Series a couple of years ago. I think the guys who have run here helped them be fast in practice.” On the other hand, he doesn’t think it will be a factor though on who wins here Sunday afternoon. “Everyone learns so quickly and gets up to speed so fast. Even if you haven’t ever been here, you will pick it up fairly quickly. It might help them get up to speed fast but everyone gets used to it after 50 minutes of practice.” 

Although some found the session helpful, the track did come out and grab some people. Ben Rhodes, who is filling in for AJ Almendinger who is in Portland for the Xfinity Series, got into the wall in turns three and four in his No. 16 Chevy Camaro for Kaulig Racing and went to the garage early. Parker Kligerman, who is piloting the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing, had to pull in the pits after his car caught on fire and will have to go to a back up car. On Saturday, the NASCAR Cup Series cars will qualify to see who is on the pole for the Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill. That will take place at 11 a.m. Eastern on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.   



 

Since its inception in 1985, NASCAR has held its annual All Star Race at some point during the NASCAR schedule. From 1985 to 2019, with the exception of the 1986 All Star Race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, its home has been the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway, until in 2020 when it was held at Bristol Motor Speedway, and then in 2021 to present at Texas Motor Speedway.  

The famed race has also been known to try new things as it has no effect in the regular season standings. In 1987, NASCAR changed its format to include 'stages’ during the race, which was later brought into the regular season 30 years later in 2017. In 1992, CMS installed lights to have the race in prime time, also known as ‘One Hot Night’. In 2009, NASCAR introduced double file restarts, and three weeks later, was implemented at Pocono Raceway in the second week in June. Great things have come out of the All Star event, and great racing as well. 

In recent years though, it has seemed that the All Star Race itself has been a lackluster event. In fact, even some fans have wanted the event scrapped from the schedule, which is a shame in which the event was built for the fans. Especially after last Sunday’s showing of the event with it being the worst race so far in the 2022 season, things need to be changed and changed fast. Luckily, it can be saved, and can once again be one of the top events on the NASCAR schedule, but it will need to be revamped before it can be done. 

1: Enough of the silly formats

The one thing that can not happen again is for the format to feel gimmicky and confusing. You know there is trouble when even some people who have been involved with NASCAR have no idea how the race will be run this year. Enough of that, and the people who love the sport don’t care for it. Make it a simple format, that doesn’t take the credibility and the integrity of the sport into places it doesn’t need to be. The race should be run with a simple format, so that even the casual fan who doesn’t know the difference between a stock car and a sprint car can easily tell what is happening. 

2: The race needs a home

I know that the NFL’s Pro Bowl, and both the MLB’s and the NBA’s All Star games are held in different venues every year, but we are not stick and ball sports, and we shouldn’t try to be. While the sport is glad that it has changed from Charlotte to Bristol after a 30 year stint, it should have a home and it isn’t at Texas Motor Speedway. But here is the kicker, let’s move to a track that no one is currently racing at. That way, no team who is involved with the All Star Race has no data or past knowledge on how to win from a previous event less that a year earlier. It would certainly shake things up, and maybe provide the race to be held at a unique venue. 

3: Extend to lower series

Dave Moody from MRN and the host of SiriusXM Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio has brought up this idea, and it has some weight to it. NASCAR should open the All Star Race up to the top 10 in points in the Cup, Xfinity, Trucks, and even the ARCA national series. That way the top 10 ‘All Stars’ from the top four series in the NASCAR’s banner will compete in a race meant for the best of the best. How neat would it be to have an ARCA driver like Nick Sanchez who won last week at Kansas, race against Ben Rhodes from the Truck Series, Noah Gragson from the Xfinity Series, and Kevin Harvick from the Cup Series? NASCAR has a unique opportunity that could pay off in the long haul. You could make the race a 250-300 mile event, and run the race almost like the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship with four classes and an overall winner. Not only will it be different, it will be historic for sure. 

4: My opinion on how the All Star Race should be

Imagine this. Let’s hold the event mid week like the 2020 All Star Race was held on a Wednesday night before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, with the top 10 in points from the previous race of ARCA, Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup allowed to compete. The race will be 250 laps with two stages, one on lap 100 and the next on lap 200, with a 50 lap shootout to determine who the All Stars really are. And where will this Wednesday night shootout be held? None other than the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C. 

The track has recently announced plans to hold events in August and October, with a new repave to take place before the 2023 racing season begins. With all of the positive momentum the historic ⅝’s of a mile is getting these days, why not reward them with a race date of their own? Plus, the crowd that was at Texas Motor Speedway this past Sunday could easily fit in the grandstands at North Wilkesboro. Not only would the first running of the event at the track be historic, but it might get people to love the All Star Race again. 

Things need to be fixed in NASCAR, and it’s that hard to do. Luckily, NASCAR has a chance to save some things from diminishing away like some of the other great things that have made the sport what it is today. I personally believe if NASCAR can make these changes to the All Star race, it could be saved and cherished forever. 

 

Tyler Reddick, who has been so close, so many times in 2022 to winning in the Cup Series, fought off the JR Motorsports dominance to win his first Xfinity Series for Big Machine Racing. This was also Reddick's first win in NASCAR”s second tier series since 2019 at Homestead Miami Speedway where he won the championship in the same race. 

The race started off with Noah Gragson for JR Motorsports starting on pole when they came around to take the green flag for the SRS Distribution 250 at Texas Motor Speedway. He was then passed by his teammate Justin Allgaier on lap 21, but the caution would come out a lap later due to fluid on the racetrack. The race restarted on lap 31, when Gragson regained control of the race until the yellow was out again on lap 33 due to a spin by C.J. McLaughlin. Gragson continued to look strong in the lead until he was passed by Josh Berry, another JRM driver, who led to win stage one. The stage ended early due to another spin by McLaughlin in turn two. 

Berry continued to lead even when the caution came out for the fourth time in the race due to a spin by Austin Hill on lap 58. The races restarted on lap 62, and stayed green until Berry won the second stage of the race on lap 82. Allgaier then retook the lead on the restart on lap 88, but then a multi car crash on the backstretch happened on lap 89. The wreck involved Matt Mills. Berry, Gragson, Brandon Jones, Ty Gibbs, and Josh Williams. The green flag was back out on lap 94, but five laps later Gragson took another spin in turn one bringing out the seventh caution, and he wouldn’t be a factor the rest of the day. 

The race went back to green conditions on lap 103, with JRM driver Justin Allgaier still in control of the race. That was until lap 112, when he was passed by Cup Series regular William Byron, who was also making his first return in the Xfinity Series since 2017 where he won the championship. Then the caution was back out once again after Allgiaer was slow on the track, ending his hopes to win in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Austin Hill, who spun earlier in the race, led on lap 119, until the ninth caution was back out on lap 124. Joe Gaf Jr, David Starr, Alex Labbe, and Sieg had an accident in turn three on lap 124. On lap 124, the green flag for the final 40 laps of the SRS Distribution 250 at Texas Motor Speedway resumed until Sieg once again crashed in turn one and was done for the day. 

Brandon Jones led two laps from 135 to 136 until Reddick took the lead away on lap 137. Two laps later, the final caution of the day was for a seven car pile up on the front stretch from lap 139-145. Reddick would lead from then til the finish and would win at Texas. 

The race had in total 11 cautions for 62 laps, making the 167 lap race being 37.1% ran under the yellow flag for a total of two hours, 28 minutes, and five seconds. The average speed was 101.497 mph throughout the 250 mile event. Next week, the Xfinity Series takes on the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That race will start at 1 p.m. Eastern on FS1, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.  

They say an old dog can’t learn new tricks, but they never say an established NASCAR champion can’t win on a track they’ve never won at before. That is exactly what happened with Kurt Busch, and his No. 45 Toyota Camry for 23XI racing on Sunday afternoon, after leading 119 of 267 laps.  

It’s all about teamwork,” said Kurt Busch. “I mean, I don’t do this alone, and the way that Toyota has helped us, JGR. My little brother has been so important just on the family side of, hey, you’ve got to get through these steps.” It all started with Christopher Bell, who is a Toyota teammate to Kurt, starting on pole with the young and hungry Tyler Reddick, who had finished second in the last four starts prior, starting second right beside him when they took the green flag a little after 3 p.m. Eastern. 

Chase Briscoe was the cause of the first caution of the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on lap 7, after he took a ride sideways through the infield grass after spinning in turn four. Reddick then led from lap 10 and didn’t let go.Then the left rear tires became most of the drivers Achilles Heel during the race. The first tire related issue was on lap 32, which took BJ McLeod as its first victim, bringing out the second caution. 

Bell then regained control of the lead from lap 37, then Daniel Suarez had a tire go down in turns three and four, which caused him to spin and bring out the third caution of the race. Bell continued to lead until 64, when Ricky Stenhouse Jr led for two laps while green flag pit stops happened. Kyle Busch then went on to take the lead and won stage one in the process, until getting knocked down by a bad pit stop which put him deep in the field. 

William Byron, who was the first Chevrolet driver to lead under green conditions, led from lap 88 til 112, until Kurt Busch would be up front for the first time of the day. The fourth caution was brought out by Kevin Harvick after he spun in turn two reentering the race after a green flag pit stop routine. After the restart, the lead changed 3 times in three laps with Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Blaney all battled in contention to win at Kansas. Kurt BUsch would lead from lap 138 til the end of stage two, which he won and score 10 extra points in the process. 

A driver who was all the way deep in the field finally made his way up front, which was Kyle Larson, who won at Kansas back in October during the playoffs. He then took control of the AdventHealth 400 after stealing it from Kurt Busch on lap 202 to 203, after the caution was back out when Elliott spun in turn three which caused him to be stuck in the wet grass. Kyle then lost the lead after getting into the wall. He had an incredible save on the backstretch, but then gave veteran Kurt Busch the lead until lap 231. 

Then the final caution of the race happened with Harvick leaking fluids from his Ford Mustang on the front straightaway. From then, Larson looked like he had the win in the bag for his second win of 2022, until lap traffic became a factor on lap 258. He was then passed by Kurt Busch, who led the final nine laps towards his 34th career win in the NASCAR Cup Series and his first win at the Kansas Speedway. 

Larson after the race walking back to his hauler on whether he could have done anything different, said, “I'm sure there's things I could have maybe done, but I just need to go back and look. When he wanted to get by me, maybe I could have done a little bit better job, but it was gonna be tough.” Larson led a total of 29 laps to finish in second place by 1.413 seconds

At the end, the 2022 AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway had a total of 8 cautions for 47 out of 267 laps. The race had 18 lead changes, and lasted 3 hours, 13 minutes, and three seconds for an average speed of 124.476 mph. Next week, the NASCAR Cup Series has its 38th annual All Star Race at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday May 22nd. The race will have an open race starting at 6 p.m. Eastern, followed by the All Star Race itself starting at 8 p.m. on FS1, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. 












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