Parks Pit Report: Hollywood Casino 400
Did NASCAR go to Kansas or did they go to Bristol? That was a question going through my mind the entire afternoon and into the evening while I sat glued to the television and covering the race on Twitter.
It seemed as if every lap, or every restart, that the action would get slowed because of an incident. The 14 caution flags in Sunday’s race was a track record, which is extremely odd considering the track has brand new asphalt and a slightly modified configuration. But, there could be a lot of things that could have contributed to what happened. However, many could be attributed to the tire NASCAR brought and also the timing of when the track was repaved.
Here’s what I mean, NASCAR first visited Kansas in the late spring, and then following that race the track was then gutted and resurfaced for the fall event. That may have been a bad decision, especially considering how Kansas changes between spring and fall.
The temperature variances obviously effect a track on race day, but at the same time when a track is inactive it still has a dramatic effect. The original track went through so many changes over the years, such as heat, rain, cold and snow, that the asphalt cracked and the seams had to be patched.
Now that there is new asphalt, at least when the initial race occurred, there wasn’t expected to be much of a change. However, the track certainly had a major impact on cars. The hard tire that NASCAR and Goodyear elected to bring is the same one that was used at Michigan this year, a track that also was resurfaced.
For the most part, teams had no issues, but the track certainly was slick, as pretty much every caution led to another in which a driver got loose, slid and contacted the outside wall.
Maybe deciding to pave the track before the second race was a bad call, but then again Phoenix did the same thing last season and it worked out alright. However, different part of the country, so weather had a different effect on the new surface.
Kansas won’t see action until next spring, which means that the new surface will get a chance to get worn in, and go through a huge weather cycle. I’m expecting a different tire to be brought for the first race at the track next season, and that will obviously make a difference in how the cars handle. Couple that with the fact an entirely different car will be used next season, and that will make for an entirely unknown combination.
But until then, I’ll remember Sunday’s race as being exactly what it was, a WRECKFEST!!
RESULTS: 1-Kenseth 2-Truex Jr. 3-Menard 4-Kahne 5-Stewart 6-Bowyer 7-Smith 8-Keselowski 9-Johnson 10-Gordon
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Harvick 13-Hamlin 14-Edwards 24-Martin 27-Biffle 31-Kyle Busch
CAUTIONS: 14 for 66 laps. Lap 32-36 (Debris), 41-44 (#18 spin-T4), 72-76 (#51 accident-T3), 84-86 (#14, 31 accident-T4), 123-127 (Debris), 137-141 (#48 accident-T4), 143-146 (#47 accident-T3), 156-162 (#10, 83 accident-T2), 166-168 (#14 spin-BS), 17–172 (#9, 21 accident-T3), 176-180 (#16 accident-T4), 183-188 (#18, 22, 39, 78 accident-T4), 215-222 (#43 accident-T4), 237-239 (#22 accident-T1).
LEAD CHANGES: 16 among 10 drivers. Kahne POLE, Martin 1-6, Almirola 7-33, Gilliland 34, Almirola 35-73, Kvapil 74, Johnson 75-118, Almirola 119-121, Bowyer 122-123, Gordon 124, Bowyer 125-127, Kenseth 128-156, Gordon 157, Martin 158-211, Menard 212-217,Kahne 218, Kenseth 219-267.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 28 Mins, 48 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 115.086 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.495 Secs.
2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup: 1. Keselowski, 2250 points; 2. Johnson, -7; 3. Hamlin, -20; 4. Bowyer, -25; 5. Kahne, -30; 6. Truex Jr, -43; 7. Stewart, -47; 8. Gordon, -51; 9. Kenseth, -55; 10. Harvick, -59; 11. Biffle, -62; 12. Earnhardt Jr, -122.