Sometimes a race can be made just by a name. Some are simple enough, such as the Daytona 500 to start the year or the Ford EcoBoost 400 to close out the season, since Ford is the sponsor of the entire championship weekend.
Then you have what Kansas had on Saturday night.
Earlier in the year, NASCAR announced a deal that would have the kid’s network Nickelodeon be a sponsor of the spring race at the track. It was one of the more unique opportunities to have a younger fan base come in and get more involved in the sport.
What better sponsor to be the namesake of this race than the current most-popular cartoon on the network? I’m sure that every fan in attendance was ready to sing, and as luck would have it when the music started playing, it didn’t matter if a fan was five or 55, everyone was on cue.
“Oh, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”
You know where I’m going with this, as the race on Saturday night was the Spongebob Squarepants 400.
Kansas Speedway went all out in promoting the race to the point of not only painting the infield logo, but the walls on the outside of the track became yellow with bubbles. Cars ran characters as part of their paint schemes, and even the stars of the show made their appearances to keep the crowd entertained.
When the rain hit, it just seemed appropriate that a sponge was the sponsor. While NASCAR broke out the Air Titan to dry the surface, everyone kept saying that they needed to get the Nickelodeon star out to help assist in the drying efforts.
Sure, in the end it was Jimmie Johnson taking his third win of the season, but in reality the winners were Nickelodeon for all the exposure they got, Kansas Speedway for the effort they put into having a lot of fun with the sponsorship, and NASCAR for bringing in a brand new way to get the young fans involved in the sport.
It’s just a shame that the track didn’t sell Krabby Patties.
RESULTS: 1-Johnson 2-Harvick 3-Earnhardt Jr. 4-Gordon 5-Logano 6-Kenseth 7-Keselowski 8-Busch 9-Truex Jr. 10-Newman
NOTABLE FINISHES: 17-Kahne 20-Edwards 27-Patrick 39-Stewart
CAUTIONS: 9 for 49 laps. Lap 9-12 (No. 23 and 26 Spin-T4); 27-29 (Competition Caution); 95-107 (No. 26 Spin in Turn 4 [Red 2 Hrs, 16 Mins, 38 Secs.]); 121-127 (No. 55 and 98 Accident-T4); 131-134 (No. 20 Spin-T2); 186-190 (No. 15 and 17 Accident -T4); 197-200 (No. 18 Accident-T4); 209-212 (No. 9 and 11 Accident-T4); 257-261 (No. 17 Accident-T2).
LEAD CHANGES: 16 among 10 drivers. Logano 1-29; Busch 30-49; Harvick 50-56; Truex Jr. 57-78; Keselowski 79-80; Kenseth 81; Jones 82; Truex Jr. 83-121; Keselowski 122-162; Truex Jr. 163-175; Edwards 176-187; Truex Jr. 188-199; Larson 200; Truex Jr. 201-209; Larson 210-211; K. Harvick 212-257; J. Johnson 258-267.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 11 Mins, 50 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 125.265 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.487 Seconds
CHASE GRID: 1. Johnson, 389 points (3 Wins); 2. Harvick, 437 points (2 Wins); 3. Logano, 375 points (1 win); 4. Earnhardt Jr, 360 points (1 Win); 5. Keselowski, 343 points (1 Win); 6. Kenseth, 331 points (1 Win); 7. Busch, 292 points (1 Win); 8. Hamlin, 284 points (1 Win); 9. Truex Jr, 391 points; 10. McMurray, -63; 11. Gordon, -74; 12. Kahne, -78; 13. Almirola, -79; 14. Menard, -85; 15. Newman, -86; 16. Bowyer, -109.