Sprint Cup fans missed the final night race of the 2015 Sprint Cup season.
Those staying for Sunday’s Bank of America 500 missed a Joey Logano clinic and some unlikely winners and losers. Here’s a breakdown in this NASCAR recap of the Bank of America 500.
Win: Kevin Harvick
Harvick didn’t win. He did finish second for what feels like the 235th time this 2015 Sprint Cup season. More importantly, after having to dig out of that hole from the first Chase race, Harvick sits in a comfortable points position heading into Kansas and Talladega. Granted, he could get caught in a wreck at either place. But Harvick has more margin for error than he has had in three weeks. Drivers, even Harvick, can’t dig out of holes every single week. Just ask Jimmie Johnson.
Lose: Kasey Kahne
Charlotte Motor Speedway might be Kahne’s best track. He’s in the top five in terms of career wins and career average finish. Kahne finished dead last Sunday.
The larger issue is Kahne with Hendrick Motorsports and what that future looks like. Kahne needed a late win last year to make the Chase. This year, that late win never arrived. There has always been a Spinal Tap Drummer kind of situation with the fourth Hendrick car. Maybe Kahne peaked as a driver. Maybe new crew members or additional collaboration would help. Regardless, Kahne’s run at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the opposite of the cherry on top of the opposite of the sundae.
Draw: Joe Gibbs Racing
The whole Gibbs vs. the field argument looks pretty rough now. The good news is Kevin Harvick showed everyone that it’s possible to come back from a deep Chase hole. Matt Kenseth’s hole also isn’t as deep.
The bad news is as the season gets shorter, wins get more important. This is especially the case with Talladega looming. Joey Logano can wreck and be just fine. Someone next week will join that club in Kansas. It’s possible the inevitable giant wreck will take out at least one (who knows maybe all four) Gibbs cars. Kansas isn’t a must win next week. It is a would be really nice to win race for JGR next week extend the team’s summer mojo in fall.
Enjoy Kansas conversations, and insert a random catchphrase here.