Date: May 11, 2019
Event: Digital Ally 400 (Round 12 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Note: Race extended four laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Point Standing: 9th (357 points, 121 out of first)
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Clint Bowyer started third, finished eighth and earned three bonus points.
● Bowyer held his second-place starting spot but dropped to fourth before the competition caution at lap 30.
● Bowyer took only two tires and restarted the race in second.
● Bowyer jumped to the lead on the restart and held it laps 37 through 48.
● He reported his car was loose and struggled in the outside groove.
● Bowyer pitted for four tires on lap 63 and drove up to eighth by the time of the stage’s conclusion.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started fifth, finished eighth and earned three bonus points.
● Bowyer raced at the front of the field in the opening laps of the stage but faded back, battling handling issues.
● He pitted on lap 123 for tires and fuel.
● Bowyer and the crew worked throughout the stage to improve the handling and finished eighth.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-271):
● Started ninth, finished fifth.
● Bowyer continued to struggle with handling and dropped to 12th in the running order.
● Bowyer said that late in green-flag runs the handling improved, but needed to be better.
● Crew continued to make major adjustments to improve the handling.
● Bowyer was ready to make his final green-flag stop of the race on lap 217 when a debris caution came out. He stayed on the track and moved to sixth.
● Crew took the opportunity of being only one of seven cars on the lead lap and made major handling changes during the pit stop. Bowyer restarted the race in sixth with 43 laps remaining.
● Those changes worked, helping Bowyer stay at the front of the field until contact with Kyle Busch dropped him to eighth.
● It appeared that would be where Bowyer would finish, but a caution with four laps remaining set up an overtime finish.
● Bowyer elected to pit for right-side tires and restarted the overtime in eighth.
● He jumped out on the restart and looked like he would battle for the victory, but Bowyer had to avoid an accident when Erik Jones blocked him as the field raced the final two laps.
● Bowyer crossed the finish line in fifth.
● Bowyer earned his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 of the season.
● This was the Emporia, Kan. native’s third top-five and seventh top-10 in 22 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.
● This was Bowyer’s second straight top-10. He finished ninth last week at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
● Bowyer finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.
● Bowyer led once for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at Kansas to 63.
● Brad Keselowski won the Digital Ally 400 to score his 30th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .205 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.
● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Digital Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano leaves Kansas as the new championship leader with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Mobil 1 Ford Mustang:
“Tonight wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. We struggled with handling, especially as soon as the night fell and it got dark outside we were not handling at all. It was tight and it was loose and on top of the race track. With two stops to go we came in and raised the back of the car up and we got better in traffic and were able to race. Then all hell broke loose on the restart and things like that. It was tires, no tires, two tires. Everyone was on different strategies, people were a lap down that should have been up front. It was hard to even figure out who you were racing. We should have finished second. I had a huge run on both those guys but that kid (Jones), I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position. It is frustrating. It is always disappointing when you come here and don’t get a win. A top-five was a solid night for us. We did a good job of fighting for that finish because it probably wasn’t exactly where we deserved to run the way we ran all night.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the nonpoints Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!