KANSAS CITY, KS (WFXG) - Well, as you know, the weather in Kansas can stir up some powerful whirlwinds and Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 fell victim to those turbulent conditions. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon closed ground on the Chase point leaders as the top three had trouble on the tricky mile and a half Kansas Speedway.
Point leader, Matt Kenseth, never quite got up to speed and Jimmie Johnson had engine trouble in the final laps to finish 11th and 6th respectively which allowed Harvick and Gordon to close in on the Championship point battle.
However, Kyle Busch took the hardest hit in the points falling from third to fifth after two accidents sidelined him for a 34th place finish.
Race winner Kevin Harvick blamed the track and new tires for the tricky driving conditions. "It was an interesting weekend to say the least," said Harvick when asked about all the trouble that plagued the point leaders. "Obviously everybody was battling the tires and the track, and I think it was like driving on a razor blade."
Harvick had his issues as well but knew that as long as he could stay out front in clean air, he had the car to beat.
"It was like driving two different cars," continued the race winner. "Out front it was not even close, and in traffic you were just another one of the cars and had a lot of trouble, so that made the restarts really important. Everybody would get really aggressive on the restarts and try to make up spots because that was the place that you had to do it."
Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon could attest to the aggressive restarts as the two of them had some issues down the stretch to their second and third place finishes.
"There was a restart where he was on our outside through 1 and 2, and just didn't quite give us an inch and dumped so much air under the rear of our car where I was on banana peels sliding up onto the exit of 2, and he thought I was trying to pinch him," explained Busch of the incident. "So I returned the favor by putting my nose close to his rear bumper and took away that inch instead of giving an inch and got back by him."
Gordon didn't quite see it that way but chalked it all up to hard racing.
"It was really just hard racing," said Gordon of his view of the situation. "I was fine with all of it up until he drove into my door on the back straightaway. There was just no reason for that."
In the end it was Harvick that rolled into victory lane to keep his championship hopes alive. Does he have enough time to overtake the top two drivers? That will have to be played out over the next six weeks.