Three thoughts on Saturday night’s SpongeBob SquarePants 400 from Kansas Speedway:
1 – Some things don’t change. Jimmie Johnson’s victory marked the seventh consecutive 1.5-mile Sprint Cup race that either he or Kevin Harvick won. Saturday night’s event also marked the eighth top-two finish in 11 races for Harvick this season. Johnson won at Kansas although he wasn’t as strong as Harvick or a couple of others. Credit crew chief Chad Knaus, who put Johnson in a position to win by not pitting during the final caution. There’s something to be said for having the strongest car, but strategy also is vital – as was shown in this race. The question is how much longer will this dominance continue?
2 – You get the feeling that once Martin Truex Jr. wins a race this season, it won’t be his last. He had one of the strongest cars, if not the strongest Saturday night, but a decision by crew chief Cole Pearn to pit and not change tires on the last stop left Truex vulnerable. After getting boxed in on the final restart, Truex was toast. Still, that shouldn’t take away from his performance and his 10th top-10 finish in 11 races. This is a team that will continue to be worth watching the next several races.
3 – For the second week in a row, a Joe Gibbs Racing driver questioned NASCAR on how it reacted to an accident. Last weekend, NASCAR did not throw a caution when Carl Edwards got out of shape on the last lap and he expressed his frustration. Saturday night, Denny Hamlin claimed that NASCAR was slow to throw the caution after he crashed. NASCAR stated to NBC Sports that “as soon as we saw the incident on the race track, the caution light was illuminated.” One could argue that maybe JGR is more sensitive to what can happen in an accident after Kyle Busch was injured in the season-opening Xfinity race, but it is worth noting that drivers are starting to raise this question publicly.