New pavement, new car, and winds that would make the Wicked Witch go insane could sum up what Kansas was about this weekend. From the moment cars hit the track, speeds were up from one year ago, and every driver was on edge as to how it would effect the racing.
Every lap, thanks to both the tire compound and the conditions, drivers were sliding as if they were sprint car drivers or late model drivers on the local dirt tracks.
But at the end of the day, it wasn't the guy that had the best handling that won. It was simply the fastest guy in the race. And ironically, once again, it was the guy that was the fastest for one lap that was eventually fastest for 400 miles.
Matt Kenseth can now call himself a repeat winner on the season as he would capture victory once again in Kansas, this time as the new member of Joe Gibbs Racing. He led the most laps, and just like in Las Vegas, held off Kasey Kahne to take victory.
This also gives yet another writer a victory on the season, but even that is not enough to knock off the one writer that's stood tall all season atop the standings. In fact, it's now a bigger gap than it was one week ago.
Here's how everyone stacks up after the STP 400:
Patti Rodisch (318) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd (0)
Rob Tiongson (294) Jeff Gordon finished 13th (1)
Billy Fellin (289) Brad Keselowski finished 6th (1)
Rob Blount (281) Kasey Kahne finished 2nd (1)
Dustin Parks (261) Clint Bowyer finished 5th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (257) Kyle Busch finished 38th (2)
Kara Martin (256) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd (0)
Ryan O'Hara (256) Clint Bowyer finished 5th (0)
Sal Sigala Jr. (254) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd (0)
Kelly Crandall (238) Greg Biffle finished 19th (0)
James Broomhead (217) Matt Kenseth WON (0)
Christopher Leone (207) Kyle Busch finished 38th (0)
Misan Akuya (199) Carl Edwards finished 17th (0)
AUTHOR NOTE: Matt Kenseth was docked 50 points due to violations found at Kansas. These penalties also include a loss of bonus points for his win, and the victory will not count toward Chase seeding, should he finish in the top-10 in points after 26 races, nor will it count toward the Wild Card total if he is outside the top-10 in points.
Team owner Joe Gibbs also was docked 50 points, and he also has his owner's license suspended for the next six races.
Crew chief Jason Ratcliff is also suspended for the next six weeks, as well as fined $200,000.
The pool results have been adjusted as such, with the writer that did choose Kenseth this week still noted as having the win, however his win total for the season has been reduced back to zero, thus not getting the bonus points for that victory.
Next Race: Two words sum up the next track and what it provides. Two words can bring in fans to surround a small track. Two words that make this place a favorite among many drivers.
Two words...RACING PERFECTION.
Up next, the first real Saturday night, short-track shootout, taking place on the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway.
Writers, it's a day earlier than a normal weekend, but to close out this month, have your picks for the Toyota Owners 400 due by Thursday, April 25, by 10 p.m. ET. Shouldn't be too hard to forget, since the deadline is my birthday.