By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
On a weekend where Ford swept the front row in qualifying, the manufacture as a whole backed it up in Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. At several points in the race they had the entire top-four positions locked down.
In the end Greg Biffle came through for the blue oval by leading the final 29 laps, to grab his second win of the season, as well as the manufacture’s second win of the Sprint Cup season. According to Biffle all it took was to get the car dialed in and he was unstoppable.
“Once we got our car adjusted we were off and set sail,” Biffle explained. “The thing was really fast. I didn’t even think even if there were more cautions that they would catch us. We had such a great car today and I couldn’t be any prouder of my 3M Ford team today and the Pit Bulls.”
In all there were five Fords represented inside the top-10 spots at the finish of the race, which is a major improvement from where they were earlier in this season. For car owner Jack Roush, it was the first time he was able to visit victory lane all season, because in Biffle’s first win Roush was in the hospital recovering from his second airplane accident.
“The last time Greg (Biffle) won I was in a hospital due to my little problem at Osh Kosh,” Roush recalled. “It is really great to be back in Victory Circle with Greg and the 3M bunch and Sherwin Williams paint.”
Jimmie Johnson came home second. He started 21st on the day, and really didn’t look like a top-five car at any point until the end.
“Just long fought performance today. Relieved the checker fell when it did and we were running second…” Johnson said. “I just literally drove 400-miles with my tongue hanging out.”
In finishing second, Johnson is now your new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point leader. The four-time defending champion erased a 35 point deficit to Denny Hamlin coming into the race, and he now heads into California with an eight point lead.
He was asked if he is thinking ahead to possibly being a five-time champion.
“No, that would be foolish. it is way too earlyto think about those things. Way, way too early.,” Johnson stated emphatically.
Kevin Harvick finished third, and following the race he said that his No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevy was good all day long.
“We had a strong car really from the drop of the green flag all the way till the end. Obviously we would have liked to win. We lost some track position there on those last couple pit stops. Just took a little bit longer to get through traffic than we would have liked,” Harvick said.
So now that Jimmie Johnson has assumed the points lead, has the fact that he has won four in a row cropped into Harvick’s mind?
“Well I think at this point everybody’s racing for themselves. Obviously they’ve done a good job over the last four years. But it’s our job to do what we’re supposed to do, and that’s what we’re worried about right now.” Harvick continued by saying, “Is that what you wanted me to say? Probably not. Nice try.”
Tony Stewart who led the most laps on the day with 76 was third, and Jeff Gordon who dominated early in the race rounded out the top-five finishers.
Now Ford’s resurgence and Jimmie Johnson taking over the points lead were big stories, but the story of the race involved another chaser.
Kyle Busch had a great car Sunday but on lap 53 he renewed a rivalry from back in Bristol when he made contact with David Reutimann. The contact sent the No. 00 car spinning. Busch was okay for the moment, but just about 100 laps later the latest incident of ‘Have at it boys’ ensued.
On lap 156 Reutimann swung his car intentionally into Kyle Busch’s left rear which slammed the back of Busch’s car into the wall. It hampered Busch’s car for the rest of the day, and all he could muster was a 21st-place finish. This finish will drop him four spots in the standings to seventh.
When the retaliatory slam came from Reutimann, Busch got on the radio and screamed that he wanted NASCAR to do something about it, but Reutimann was not called to the NASCAR truck following the race.
After the race Busch was asked if he still wants NASCAR to penalize Reutimann.
“Nothing. I thought about it more. Whatever. It’s just really unfortunate you know. These guys work their butts off and to put ourselves in the Chase and to have the opportunity to try to go after a championship and to have it end up something like that today,” Busch said.
Now if it sounds like Busch is starting to throw in the towel for the title it’s because he talked all week about getting a good finish here in Kansas. Every time he has been in the Chase he has had a bad finish in this race, and the trend has continue.
Other than Busch, no other Chaser finished outside the top-15 Sunday.
Kasey Kahne started from the pole, and led the first 27 laps of the race. However his day was shredded when he slammed into the wall on lap 166.
In all there were 12 different leaders, who swapped the top spot 20 times at Kansas Speedway.