No one has left Kansas Speedway in the last handful of years saying “fellas, that was a good race.” That changed Saturday night on the plains as NASCAR put on potentially their best show to date at the 1.5-mile cookie cutter oval.
Kansas 2018 set the bar really low for this season. Kevin Harvick won last season after leading 79 laps, the field was massively spread out and overall it wasn’t a great race. The 2019 version of the spring Kansas race FINALLY showed the results NASCAR was hoping for with this package.
Numbers-wise everything on Saturday night was up over every year since 2015. Most leaders in the last six seasons, second most lead changes, second closest MOV (OT did set that up), second most green flag passes, and the most quality passes. There were around 10 green flag passes for the lead too (don’t have the exact number and know I missed a couple during the race). Brad K and Alex Bowman each had 102 green flag passes, by comparison, last years winner Kevin Harvick had 28 and second place finisher Martin Truex Jr. had 52. Numbers wise it passes the test for things you want to see. Each category was up over the previous year.
Green flag passes were helped by two cycles of green flag pit stops. Combine that with the wild restarts and you could make a case it would be closer to that 2,700 range. Regardless the numbers would still be up regardless because passing was prevalent throughout the field Saturday night. Passing up front was possible too. For the first time in a long time, we had an enjoyable 1.5-mile race. A welcomed change from what we’ve seen this season.
NASCAR has taken a lot of heat for the failure of this high downforce package at most tracks this season. As fans of this sport you want to see it succeed and a lot have gotten caught up in bashing the sport for it’s failures. And rightfully so. However, when the race is good and the package worked as expected it’s ok to say just that. We’ve been brutal towards the governing body on this blog for the high downforce package. It worked through.
Now the next question is, are we going night racing all of 2020 now? Right now this race is scheduled to be a Sunday day race next year. The cooler temperatures in both the track surface and air helped this race out immensely. How this package reacts the next two weekends will tell us a little more too. Kentucky in July is the next big test for it.
For now though let’s enjoy the fact we get to talk about on track action for once.
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