Saturday night’s GoBowling 400 under the lights at Kansas Speedway saw Kyle Busch’s No. 18 M&Ms Toyota earn its third win of the young NASCAR Sprint Cup season, continuing the dominance that Joe Gibbs Racing has displayed thus far.
The night racing action saw long green flag runs, a dominating performance that didn’t end in a win, and a battle for the win in the closing laps. As we look back on the weekend that was, here are a few takeaways from the GoBowling 400.
Who can stop Joe Gibbs Racing?
At this point, that’s a legitimate question. Joe Gibbs Racing’s stranglehold on the Sprint Cup Series is about as tight as any one team has ever had on the sport, and there are no signs of it loosening up any time soon. Busch’s victory in the GoBowling 400 Saturday night was the sixth of the season for the organization, with Matt Kenseth being the only JGR driver having yet to win a race. Denny Hamlin has had some bad luck recently, but is always a contender. Carl Edwards has a pair of victories in 2016, solidifying his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And at this point, Busch has to be the title favorite. Things are looking better than ever for Joe Gibbs Racing, and that’s a very scary thing to see for the organization’s competition.
Martin Truex Jr. is painfully close
There’s no way around it: 2016 has been a heartbreaking season for Martin Truex Jr. Sure, he finished second in the season-opening Daytona 500. But he lost to winner Denny Hamlin by no more than six inches. And sure, Truex Jr. had, without a doubt, the best car on Saturday night under the lights at Kansas. The No. 78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota led 172 of the race’s first 211 laps. But after a late-race pit stop, a broken bolt on one of his rear wheels sent Truex Jr. back down pit road a second time, taking away a sure victory for the Furniture Row Racing entry. This season is somewhat reminiscent of 2015, when the team was oh-so-close many times early in the season before breaking through at Pocono in June. 2016 shouldn’t be any different. Expect Truex Jr. in victory lane, soon.
Ryan Blaney might win a race in 2016
For decades, the Wood Brothers have been fielding the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford in NASCAR’s top series. Early success highlighted the organization’s beginnings, but up until recently (despite Trevor Bayne’s 2011 Daytona 400 upset victory), the team hit a dry spell. in 2016 Ryan Blaney no doubt has the chance to end that. Blaney has shown from his first race in the Sprint Cup Series that he has the talent to potentially win races. Now, with the Wood Brothers collaborating with series juggernaut Penske Racing, his equipment is some of the best in the sport. That’s a very promising combination – a talented driver, and top-tier cars. The sky is the limit right now for the young driver from High Point, North Carolina, and at the moment it’s not completely out of reach to think that Blaney could earn his way in to the Chase for the Sprint Cup with an underdog win in the near future.
The Sprint Cup Series returns to action this Sunday from “The Monster Mile,” Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400. The green flag is set for approximately 1 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.