Story and photo by: Drew Hierwarter
By winning the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Denny Hamlin became the second driver this season with more than one win. (Hamlin also won at Phoenix. Tony Stewart won in Las Vegas and Fontana.) With the current points system placing such an emphasis on winning, these two drivers may have already assured themselves a place in the Chase.
No, in the current climate, it’s not too early to be thinking about the Chase.
All three competing manufacturers in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series have won at least one race.
Hendrick Motor Sports and Richard Childress Racing are 0 for 8.
Last October when Jimmie Johnson won at Kansas, was the last time a Hendrick Motor Sports car was in victory lane.
The fans who come to the races to see crashes have been bitterly disappointed lately. You have to go all the way back to the green-white-checkered, multi-car pile-up at Martinsville to see the last time crashing race cars brought out a yellow flag.
Since then there have been 602 laps run without anybody wrecking a race car. The drivers like that, the owners certainly like that, but a lot of fans don’t.
The Kansas race this weekend had only three caution periods for a total of 18 of the race’s 267 laps. That resulted in a record race speed of 144.122 mph.
Daytona holds the record so far for the most cautions flags at 10. Followed by 8 for Las Vegas, 7 for Phoenix and Martinsville, 5 for Bristol, 3 for Kansas, 2 for Texas, and only one caution flag period for Fontana.
If you’re an old school fan of the sport from way back it was great to see the 43 car in those STP colors again.
Speaking of the 43, it was driver Aric Almirola’s 43rd start in the Sprint Cup Series. Unfortunately he finished 23rd, 3 laps down.
Even though Richard Petty has 200 wins, not all of them were in a car numbered 43. The number 43 has now been passed by the 11 as the winningest car number in NASCAR history, 199 to 198.
Ned Jarrett, Parnelli Jones, Junior Johnson, Mario Andrettii, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, CaleYarbourough, Bobby Allison, A.J. Foyt, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliot, Geoff Bodine, and Denny Hamlin have all won races in a car with 11 on its flanks.
The next race is under the lights on Saturday night at Richmond.