Brandon Jones won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race in overtime at Kansas Speedway with a last lap pass on Austin Cindric to take the checkered flag.
“We’re never out of this thing that’s what I love about these guys,” Jones said post-race on NBCSN. “We keep our head in the game, we don’t get excited during these races. We continue to make changes. My feedback I think was pretty good. It’s been a long two days’ I feel exhausted and obviously the heat is big here. Looking forward to celebrating with these guys and it feels great to be back in victory lane.
Driver No. 18 broke Cindric’s three race win streak he had going and won his second race of the year. Cindric had previously dominated portions of the race, leading 131 laps and winning the first two stages of the race.
Rounding out the top five were Austin Cindric in second, Harrison Burton in third, Ryan Sieg in fourth and Ross Chastain in fifth.
Harrison Burton, who finished third had taken the lead with ten laps to go and looked like he was in route to victory until the caution came out with just six laps to go.
The leaders would pit except Sieg who stayed out. Cindric would win the race off pit road followed by Harrison Burton and Ross Chastain.
Sieg would stay in control of the lead when the race went back to green until the caution came out when Jesse Little spun in Turn 2, forcing a second attempt at NASCAR overtime.
Brandon Jones would restart seventh at the second attempt at overtime and take the lead, winning for the second time of the year.
Rounding out the top ten were Justin Haley in sixth, Daniel Hemric in seventh, Michael Annett in eighth, Riley Herbst in ninth and Justin Allgaier in tenth.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Road America on Saturday, August 8th at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric
Stage 2 Winner: Austin Cindric
Race Winner: Brandon Jones
On Friday in Kansas, Jimmie Johnson was made available to the media. Johnson talked about his season and the relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing with their move to Ford next year.
When asked about loosing the information from Stewart-Haas, Johnson stated, “You know that environment is tricky. Just to be selfishly speaking on Hendrick Motorsports the Stewart-Haas relationship we didn’t get their data. We didn’t share their data, they had ours. So, it was a fantastic situation for them. They had our best stuff and then they have a huge engineering staff and they can take Hendrick’s best equipment and refine it and make it better.”
“There were some things going on that were helpful and data was moving around a little bit, but they really had all the rights to our stuff; we didn’t have the rights to theirs. It’s tricky. If Mr. Hendrick can raise the money to not have that relationship, I think for us, selfishly it is better not to. We would always like to have some people running our engines and trying to do durability stuff on new motors that are coming out,” Johnson continued, “I would imagine having a couple of cars out there we will always have that, but a team at that high of caliber again, I believe we would look really hard before we made that decision again.”
However, Johnson’s comments were not up to the standards of Doug Duchardt, General Manager for Hendrick Motorsports. Duchardt made his way to the media center to clarify Johnson’s earlier comments.
“That is simply that the relationship from a data standpoint was a two-way relationship. The received our information, we received their information. That is the way it had worked from the time I have been at Hendrick Motorsports. That is basically it. We received information from Stewart-Haas when we worked with them. Obviously, when they made their announcement to Ford that changed things. But the bottom line is that as partners we exchanged data between each other,” stated Duchardt.
That relationship was before the announcement of Stewart-Haas earlier this year.
“I have told Jimmie what I was going to come and explain here, but yeah for sure this year they haven’t gotten our and we haven’t gotten theirs. That got shut off I think before Daytona actually. That has been straightforward between Stewart-Haas and us and Zippy (Greg Zipadelli) and I worked through that. That was, from my standpoint, very straightforward.”
Throughout this year, Hendrick Motorsports has built parts for Stewart-Haas to their specifications.
When asked about confidential information, Duchardt stated, “From a technical relationship standpoint the information got cut off, but we build their engines, we build their chassis’ to their specifications. They get certain chassis components from us that we have supplied over the years rear-end housing, lower control arms, truck arms things like that. They continue to receive those to their specifications from our shop.”
Fire up the scanners, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle Kansas with the question, “Should NASCAR limit the participation of Sprint Cup drivers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Chase?”
This is an interesting question that is always popping up. I think this is something that should be left up to the drivers in the series as I have posed this question to the regulars numerous times and have yet to find one driver who said they shouldn't. The regulars love the Sprint Cup Series racers in the series because it makes them feel proud of themselves when they go out there and beat them. I will say that the races are much better when it's all series regulars. But if the regulars enjoy the challenge of having them there then why take it away because we don't like it?
Yes! I think it's a good thing they can't run at Homestead and I don't think they need to run during the rest of the Chase either. If they are not currently in the running for the Cup title, then things might be different. There might be some who aren't going to be factors in the XFINITY and truck race but they may still need some seat time. I thought it was just fine that the current 'Chasers' and double-duty drivers like Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon did not run both races at Dover when that race became a double header after being postponed for weather conditions. Another thing is when you have a Cup driver 'stink up an NXS or truck show', not much can change in the Chase standings in those two divisions.
The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Chases will have a champion that is a regular in that series. The races that make up the playoffs for those respective series should only include those drivers eligible for the championship in that series.
Or maybe NASCAR could limit participation from Cup Chase drivers in the lower series, and Xfinity drivers in the Truck Series. I'm a firm believer that the championship should be decided with the drivers who have fought tooth and nail all year long to get to where they are, and shouldn't have Cup regulars spoil the party.
You'll probably see that Homestead will be one of the best races of the season, due to the drama, high intensity and everything being on the line. And with no Cup regulars in the races, the drivers will be free of worry, and can put on a show.
I believe NASCAR should limit that participation from Sprint Cup drivers. At Kentucky and Dover, we saw Xfinity Series regulars battle it out in an uninterrupted battle to win. New Hampshire and Las Vegas saw the same action without Cup participation for the Camping World Truck Series. There is many reasons why I believe that participation should be limited is because names have to be made in those series for those drivers to advance to the Sprint Cup ranks. However, I also believe that Xfinity and Truck regulars like that participation from Cup drivers because it shows that they can beat Cup drivers on any given week. Sponsorship is the main reason why Sprint Cup drivers drive in these two series. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does after this year.
Kansas Speedway qualifying turned in to a pretty special day for Kevin Harvick. For the first time since 2006, Harvick will sit on the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday afternoon. Knocking Ricky Stenhouse Jr. off of the pole, Harvick will have the honor of first pit stall in the 4th Race for the Chase. Harvick ran a lap speed of 187.526, just slightly faster than Rookie Stenhouse Jr at 187.480.
Harvick topped practice earlier in the day and had nothing but praise for his team. "Everybody on our Budweiser team has done a good job," he said in his press conference following the Pole win. "We made a couple really good runs in practice...but we knew the conditions would be cooler so we put the car back how we started practice and hoped that the race track came our way."
Stenhouse ran a great qualifying lap but unfortunately it just wasn't quite good enough. "We were close but our average start here at Kansas is going to be pretty solid now," he said following his qualifying run.
Jimmie Johnson, who currently sits second in points, will start third on Sunday with a qualifying speed of 187.162.
With some incidents during practice that included a spin and a leaking oil cooler and radiator, Johnson still managed to put his Lowe's No.48 Chevrolet in the second row for Sunday.
Here is how your Chase Contenders qualified:
P1: Kevin Harvick
P3: Jimmie Johnson
P5: Joey Logano
P6: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
P7: Matt Kenseth
P9: Carl Edwards
P14: Jeff Gordon
P15: Kasey Kahne
P17: Ryan Newman
P18: Kyle Busch
P19: Kurt Busch
P22: Clint Bowyer
P26: Greg Biffle