Carl Edwards was likely looking over his shoulder during the closing laps of the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway after all three of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates were involved in incidents during the race.
Denny Hamlin was the last of the three to be involved in a wreck, hitting the Turn 1 wall on Lap 207. The one-car incident was result of damage from contact with Sam Hornish Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. seven laps earlier on a restart from a caution for an Erik Jones crash.
“I think we blew a left-front tire,” Hamlin told FOX Sports 1. Hamlin was unhappy with how long it took for NASCAR to throw a caution. “I blew it off of Turn 4, spun out, hit the wall at the start-finish line. I keep spinning, keep hitting the wall and I can’t figure out why everyone is still coming at 200 (mph). I look and the green light is on. They didn’t throw a caution until seven seconds after I wrecked. Luckily no one hit us in the door.”
NASCAR stated to NBC Sports: “As soon as we saw the incident on the race track, the caution light was illuminated.”
Earnhardt said the contact was “just a mess” caused by all four cars involved.
“We were going four-wide there and I thought I was where I was supposed to be,” Earnhardt told FOX Sports 1. “I hate it for Denny, cause it ruined his car, ruined his night. But (Kurt Busch) kind of got me tight off the bottom and we went four wide and I was sitting there with 41 below me and (Hamlin and Hornish) were coming off the wall and into us.”
Jones was the replacement driver for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota, making his first career Sprint cup start. He spun out on his own while in the top five and suffered heavy damage, ending his night prematurely.
Matt Kenseth started the JGR woes on Lap 131 when he spun in Turn 2 after a tire blew — but he was able to recover nicely to finish sixth.
Edwards pitted with 40 laps to go after feeling a vibration in his No. 19 Toyota. He eventually finished 20th.