NOTEBOOK: Martin Truex Jr.: What a difference a week makesIf you were monitoring Matt Kenseth on a scanner, you heard his spotter, Chris "Crazy" Osborne, telling the driver what line Kasey Kahne was running lap after lap as Kahne closed in to challenge for the win.
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Martin Truex Jr. finished second Apr. 13 at Texas--and was disconsolate.
Truex ran fourth in Sunday's STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway—and was elated.
It's all a matter of perspective.
Truex dominated much of the Texas race, but a faulty shock on his car and excellent work on the part of Kyle Busch's pit crew made Busch a winner.
At Kansas, Truex fought through adversity, including a tire violation on pit road that sent him to the rear of the field, and rallied for his second top five of the season.
"I'm very happy with fourth place," Truex said. "I got a lot of questions this week about being second (at Texas) and how I seemed so disappointed and all that. Well, yeah, of course I was, under the circumstances.
"Today is a complete opposite. I'm very, very happy and excited about a fourth-place finish. It just depends on circumstances. It was a great day. We overcame a lot. The guys did an awesome job of bouncing back after that pit road problem we had. We had a great race car. We just needed a little bit."
HERE COMES THE SUN
Carl Edwards lost the Kansas pole by a mere .017 seconds, started second and for much of Sunday's race, he was flying.
In the late going, however, the sun came out from behind the clouds and upset the handling of his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Edwards plummeted to 17th at the finish--not the result he expected.
"That's very disappointing for our whole team, because we had such a fast car, and then the sun came out and we were not in good shape," Edwards said. "The handling went away big-time. I've got to thank Ricky Stenhouse (Edwards' teammate). I was holding him off and I slid up in front of him, and he could have wrecked me, but he didn't.
"I was in denial about my car at that point. I thought we were fast, and then we had our strategy set up to rely on the caution not coming out, but the caution came out, and I think that pretty much ruined it for all the Roush Fenway cars (which were trapped a lap down briefly after pitting under green).
"The cool thing is we had fast race cars and there were points in the race where I think we had the fastest cars. We'll just move on, but I'm glad we get to come back here in the fall."
WHAT'S MY LINE?
If you were monitoring Matt Kenseth on a scanner, you heard his spotter, Chris "Crazy" Osborne, telling the driver what line Kasey Kahne was running lap after lap as Kahne closed in to challenge for the win.
Was Kenseth planning to take Kahne's line away if it came to that, or was he still searching for a faster way around the race track?
"He was just trying to let me know where he was, how close he was, if he was getting a run off the top or whatever so I could kind of know where his momentum was or where he was stronger, that type of thing," Kenseth said. "But (with) 20 to go, when I started catching them lapped cars, I didn't have much of a choice. I really thought I wanted to pass them all on the top, and that wasn't such a great thought.
"I really messed up a couple laps real bad. I drove in behind the 47 (Bobby Labonte) once, and I thought he was going to the bottom and he went to the top and I was so committed I drove in behind him and pretty much had to stop and cost us about a second, that lap. And then from there on out, man, it was a lot of work. We were loose into Turn 3 and I felt like I just kept missing it and messing it up."
Obviously, Kenseth did something right. He beat Kahne to the finish line by .150 seconds.
THE KANSAS CURSE
When it comes to Kansas Speedway, Kyle Busch is willing to believe in jinxes. Whether driving on old pavement or new, Busch hasn't been able to get the hang of the 1.5-mile track.
In 12 starts at Kansas, including Sunday's STP 400, Busch has more finishes outside the top 30 (four) than inside the top 10 (two). On Sunday, it was more of the same.
Busch qualified fifth—in a backup car, no less—and was running third when he spun inexplicably off the second corner. Later on, as he was trying to work his way through traffic, he spun again, first into the wall and then into the path of Joey Logano's Ford. The collision knocked both cars out of the race.
"Spun twice on our own," Busch said. "Just don't know what to do with Kansas. Yeah, absolutely no grip for me anyways. You're running third and doing fine, car a little tight and you spin out. I don't know what to do with that and then we're back in traffic all day.
"Traffic is way worse. Just trying to get back up to the front and making some gains, but car just snaps out from you every corner."
Busch dropped five spots to seventh in the Sprint Cup standings, but as of Sunday night, at least, he could console himself with one positive thought: he's not in Kansas anymore.