The fourth race in the 2013 Chase could be summed up with three “T’s”. The story would be about tires…track…and temperature.
Goodyear officials brought a new tire to Kansas for the right side of the Sprint Cup cars, one that had already been used this year in Atlanta. It featured a “dual zone” rubber compound, which was derived from the popular “TripleTred” line of tires that Goodyear makes available to the public market. In Atlanta, the tires gave up a lot of wear early in the run, mainly due to the high speeds and the track being really slick, which is historically the way Atlanta has been.
Here’s the problem, Kansas went under a minor reconfiguration a year ago, adding in progressive banking and new asphalt. So, the track itself was completely different. This is where the second “T” comes into play. When you have that tire that is supposed to give up on a run but are using it on a new surface, it won’t exactly happen.
In fact, the tire wasn’t laying down as much rubber as expected. It was truly turning to dust, and not adding in a groove to the track so that teams could see where the main line could be.
Then there was the third “T” in this equation, temperatures. Compared to every practice session and even the Nationwide race on Saturday, Sunday’s temperatures in Topeka, Kansas, were cooler than they had been all weekend. Plus, the weather was overcast. With the cooler temperatures and clouds hanging overhead, grip would not be there as much as it had been all weekend. Yes, the track would be more slick, which normally would be good for a new tire that is designed to give up a bit, but on a new surface and with the tire not laying rubber down, it would make for a long day.
How long of a day no one anticipated. A record 15 cautions were waved at the race, all but four were due to spins and accidents, mostly due to the tires and the slick track.
Normally a 400-mile race is over in a couple hours, and there wouldn’t be much to talk about. But when a race goes past the 3-hour mark, it makes for a long day, but in this case it was clear as to why it was going to be a long day.
New tires, cool temperatures, new track surface all made for one huge wreck fest in Kansas.
RESULTS: 1-Harvick 2-Kurt Busch 3-Gordon 4-Logano 5-Edwards 6-Johnson 7-Menard 8-Earnhardt Jr. 9-Ambrose 10-Almirola
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Kenseth 13-Biffle 14-Bowyer 15-Kahne 17-Keselowski 34-Kyle Busch 35-Newman 43-Patrick
CAUTIONS: 15 for 71 laps. Lap 2-9 (#10, 18, 30, 83 accident-T2), 43-47 (#98 slow on track), 88-91 (debris), 113-117 (oil on track from #87), 119-121 (#7 spin-T2), 137-145 (#39, 51 accident-BS), 148-150 (#98 spin-T2), 156-159 (Competition-smoke in T1), 171-174 (#34 accident-BS), 181-184 (debris), 188-191 (#18, 42, 14 accident-FS), 197-199 (#9 spin-BS), 201-206 (#18, 99, 55 accident-T2), 244-248 (#55 accident-T2).
LEAD CHANGES: 24 among 12 drivers. Harvick 1-44, Mears 45, Harvick 46-79, Johnson 80, Harvick 81, Johnson 82-86, Earnhardt jr. 87-88, Kvapil 89, Earnhardt Jr. 90-91, Kenseth 92-112, Earnhardt Jr. 113, Ragan 114-115, Earnhardt Jr. 116-120, Logano 121-139, Harvick 140-144, Kyle Busch 145, Harvick 146-156, Logano 157-170, Keselowski 171-198, Harvick 199, Keselowski 200-223, Harvick 224-229, Yeley 230, Burton 231, Harvick 232-267.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 29 Mins, 10 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 114.884 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.14 Seconds
CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP: 1. Kenseth, 2183 points; 2. Johnson, -3; 3. Harvick, -25; 4. Gordon, -32; 5. Kyle Busch, -35; 6. Biffle, -44; 7. Kurt Busch, -47; 8. Earnhardt Jr, -54; 9. Bowyer, -55; 10. Logano, -59; 11. Edwards, -60; 12. Newman, -73; 13. Kahne, -13