Pete Pistone distributes this week‘s checkered and black flags following the weekend of racing at Kentucky Speedway.
Team owner Chip Ganassi likes winners and he has one in Kurt Busch. He scored his first win of the season for CGR with a thrilling finish over brother Kyle Saturday night in the Quaker State 400. In the process, while it‘s not a done deal, Busch and Ganassi appear headed for at least a second year working together in 2020.
He‘s not one for consolation prizes when Busch doesn‘t make it to Victory Lane. But Busch‘s stirring drive that came up one position short of his fifth 2019 win gave him an insane Kentucky average finish of just over 4.0, a string that includes a pair of victories to go with Saturday night‘s runner-up performance.
Is the tide turning for Larson? Busch‘s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate came home fourth to record his third top-10 finish in the last four races. Larson only had four top-10 runs in the opening 15 races of the season.
He started from the pole but had to do a lot of heavy lifting to finish eighth. A tire issue, pit road mistakes and other challenges dropped Suarez into a hole that he was able to race back from to score a top-10 finish – his seventh this year after putting nine on the board all of last season.
Quaker State 400
Even if you thought the race was average at best (I did not) there‘s no question the thrilling finish between the Busch brothers got your attention. It will certainly generate conversation all week about whether a great ending of a race makes the entire event memorable. But for me there was enough going on in Saturday night‘s 400-miler to keep my attention and the finish was the cherry on the proverbial sundae.
Every week you think Harvick and the No. 4 team will break out of their rut and get back to Victory Lane. But every week there‘s issues to prevent that from happening. An uncontrolled tire penalty and a power issue in the closing laps at Kentucky added to the 2019 miseries.
His recent trend of better finishes ended with a 22nd at Kentucky thanks to a spin and encounter with the wall early in the race. So much for the strong runs of late for Johnson on 1.5-mile tracks.
Martin Truex Jr.
His attempt at a Kentucky three-peat looked like a long shot all weekend. Truex Jr. seemed to lack speed and his qualifying effort brought that into focus. Then a pit road speeding penalty completely took him out of contention for a decent finish and Truex Jr. ended up in 19th.
His crew chief Danny Stockman made no bones earlier in the week about what the No. 3 team‘s plan was the rest of the way and that winning not points was the focus. Unfortunately for Dillon that becomes even more difficult a proposition after a 35th-place finish Saturday night as time is running out in the regular season.
Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and Johnny Sauter — despite a 10th-place finish after two pit road penalties — all struggled in Thursday night‘s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race. Points leader Enfinger was involved in an accident on Lap 64 and said, “It‘s all on me. I was trying to make something of it and it just didn‘t pan out.” The clock is ticking down to the playoffs and this powerhouse team needs to get its collective house in order pronto.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.