Four and Fuel: Takeaways from the GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway

Four and Fuel: Takeaways from the GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway

Each week, Greg Atkins and I examine our hot takes from the previous weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and any burning topics leading up to the next week’s event.

Biggest takeaway from the GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway?

Atkins – As Aric Almirola‘s accident demonstrates, racing is still dangerous and things can still happen. I speak for all of us here at Raceway Insider in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Painter – While the Joe Gibbs Racing teams have struggled to find victory lane this season, their affiliated team of Furniture Row Racing is not having similar struggles. Martin Truex, Jr. claimed victory for the second time this season and ran well for the entire event. Truex was just too much for Ryan Blaney to handle who had a better short-run car than the No. 78.

Biggest surprise from Kansas?

Atkins – Ryan Blaney and Wood Brothers Racing showed a lot of speed at Kansas and with a little bit of luck could have collected their first victory together. After three straight finishes of 33rd or worse, it was a desperately needed quality performance.

Painter – Daniel Suárez matched his career best finish of 10th with his top-10 showing at Kansas. The young driver has struggled to find his niche in a MENCS car this season, but the finish last weekend is something the No. 19 team can build on moving forward.

Kansas Speedway produced the most caution flags so far in the 2017 season, what makes Kansas so treacherous?

Atkins – Kansas has produced a challenging environment for competitors since its reconfiguration five years ago. It’s such a fast track that any mistake/mechanical failure can quickly lead to an accident.

Painter – I think it’s a combination of the tire compound, aero package, and Kansas is just a slick track to drive. Plus, the drivers are carrying so much speed into the corner and off of the exit that any bobble or slip can result in a sideways spin as we saw many times Saturday Night.

Is there anything NASCAR needs to do to make the cars safer after the horrific crash involving Joey Logano, Danica Patrick, and Aric Almirola?

Atkins – As I stated above, racing is inherently dangerous. NASCAR has made incredible strides in safety since 2001 and their progress should not be discredited. It’s racing and things like this, unfortunately, can happen.

Painter – I think NASCAR has been doing and will continue to do everything they can to make sure the cars are the safest they have ever been. The accident at Kansas was a freak accident to some degree and the No. 43 of Almirola literally had nowhere to go. As bad as it was and the fact that Almirola will likely be sidelined for quite some time, it’s not something that could be avoided with all of the fluid and debris on the racetrack.

Fuel (bold prediction or statement) – Martin Truex, Jr. should be considered a strong favorite to win this year’s championship?

Atkins – Absolutely. Truex has been Toyota’s bell cow this year and that will likely continue through the summer months as we head down the stretch.

Painter – Definitely. The dynamic duo of Truex and Cole Pearn (crew chief) only continues to get better with each passing race of each season that they are together. With a little bit of luck and a consistent run through the summer months, I expect that No. 78 team to be legitimate contenders during the final 10 races.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff (

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