Hendrick Garage: Kansas

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and David Reutimann race three-wide at
Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Credit:
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kansas Speedway was a very hot race. The Hendrick drivers are very good here. Jeff Gordon has a history at the track, having won the first race ever run there. For Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, their day would be even longer for they were starting in the back, in 28th and 31st. For me, being there in person only made it more exciting.

Mark Martin

From my viewpoint, it looked like Mark had a great car and watching the No. 5 Go Daddy race around the track was great to see. The car looked good and ready, but it seemed that it didn’t have the speed nor the right adjustments to fully get to the front of the field. It was an OK day for Mark Martin - he brought home the No. 5 Go Daddy in the 21st position and sits 14th in the point standings.

Jeff Gordon

What’s there to say about Mr. Gordon? Well, how about winning the first ever race at Kansas - that's pretty epic. Jeff had a very good day, he even battled for the lead and there is nothing like seeing a great lead battle in person. The crowd would scream and holler as Jeff took the lead and it was an amazing feeling to be a part of that in person. Jeff had good pit stops and a fast car as his No. 24 was top of the field most of the day. He had a shot at winning, but it all came down to the fuel mileage. Jeff drove it home 4th and is now 13th in points. I'd say that was a pretty good day for Jeff.

Jimmie Johnson

Starting in the back would be a hard feat for Jimmie as Kansas is not an easy place to pass. By lap 10 Johnson was already up to 27th and slowly but surely he was moving on up. I started to see how good the 48 car was as the right adjustments and calls by crew chief Chad Knaus were giving the 48 car just what it needed. Johnson may not have had a winning car, but he did have a good car. When the final and last green flag pit stop cycled through, Johnson was in 7th and he’d stay that way. Although he didn’t win the race, Johnson did win something else as he moved up to second in points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Where to start on Dale Jr. and that No. 88 machine coming off a big heartbreak from last Sunday at the Coca Cola 600. Fans (including myself) had to wonder what the No. 88 team had in store. I wasn’t very impressed in his qualifying run but I hoped he could make up the spots. As soon as the race was under way, my eyes were focused on that No. 88 car. I think I even gave myself whiplash from watching him so intently; it seemed to me that the 88 car had a great, fast car.

At about lap 151 the No. 88 car spun and the fans in the crowd were angry; the car was so loose that Dale couldn’t handle it any more. But somehow, and I don’t know how, he managed to miss the wall - very impressive. My heart skipped a beat but I wasn’t worried because listening to the scanner, the 88 crew wasn’t worried. Watching the pit stop, it looked like a clean stop for the 88 crew. Watching the 88 car pick off cars all the time was very exciting and made for a great race.

As the laps clicked by, it was down to yet again another fuel race; my only worry was did the 88 have enough fuel. He passed the 11 car for third and then Kurt Busch pitting put the 88 in second - all eyes were on the 88 and the 2 of Brad Keselowski. Did Keselowski have enough gas to hold off Earnhardt or would Earnhardt steal the win? Fans were on their feet, I was even on my feet …

As the race ended, Brad Keselowski won but Dale Junior finished in second place; so far his season has been very high up there. He took it home second and is now 3rd in points. Things just maybe looking up for Earnhardt; I smell a win soon.

Quote from Dale Junior: "It's just rolling the dice, man, that's what it was, "You know how the dice is – sometimes it works for you and sometimes it don't."
Hendrick Garage: Kansas Hendrick Garage: Kansas Reviewed by Lacy Page on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Rating: 5