Kansas Checkered and Black Flags

M.Truex Jr.

There were plenty of highs and lows to go around after Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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There were plenty of highs and lows to go around after Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Checkered Flags

Martin Truex Jr.
He finally kicked down the door to Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway after several times coming oh, so close. The Furniture Row Racing driver led the most laps at Kansas for the third straight race but this time, he cashed in with the checkered flag.

Ryan Blaney
It appears as if the question isn’t whether Blaney will get a win soon but when? Once again, he demonstrated strength on a mile-and-a-half track but was the victim of multiple restarts that ended the race. Still, Blaney’s top-five performance was impressive after starting from the pole.

Daniel Suarez
Make it three seventh-place finishes in the season’s first 11 races for Suarez. The Joe Gibbs Racing rookie hasn’t been flashy, but he's quietly putting together a nice freshman season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Trevor Bayne
Last week, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought Roush Fenway Racing it’s first win in more than three years with his Talladega victory. Teammate Bayne kept his hopes of making the post-season going by knocking down a top-10 finish in Kansas.

Kansas Safety Crew
The accident involving Joey Logano, Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola created one of the most frightening scenes for the sport in some time. Timely, precise work by safety and medical crews to extricate Almirola from his car to transport him to a local hospital should not go unnoticed.

Black Flags 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Seriously? Another loose wheel? After having any chance at winning last week at Talladega taken away when Earnhardt had to come to pit road to tighten a loose wheel, the same thing happened in Kansas. Earnhardt and his team have to find a way to alleviate these maladies if they harbor any shot at competing for a playoff spot.

Erik Jones
Had the hat trick of spins on Saturday that kept him from potentially a top-10 finish and who knows, maybe more? The Furniture Row Racing rookie couldn’t keep his car pointed in the right direction, for a variety of reasons.

Danica Patrick
Her comments after the multi-car accident were strange, to say the least. While Patrick lamented her bad luck and disappointment for what seemed like forever, she finally got around to conveying thoughts about Almirola’s well-being. While Patrick was shaken up from the accident, her post-wreck comments were off-base.

Carl Long
His first race back since 2009 was mired in controversy thanks to Long’s sponsor issues. He inexplicably brought a company associated with marijuana to the table and then came up with a flimsy excuse about a spelling mistake that led to a misunderstanding, causing NASCAR to ban the sponsor’s involvement. Long embodied the ultimate underdog story for many fans, but his actions this weekend were bush league.

Qualifying Inspection
Twelve drivers, including some of the top names in the sport, failed to turn a lap of qualifying Friday. They didn't get through inspection. NASCAR maintains that there was nothing wrong with its equipment as 28 other cars made it through, but that didn’t stop some teams from questioning the validity of the process. Whatever the case, it’s happened too many times this year and made Friday’s qualifying session an embarrassment.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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