Before an estimated crowd of 40,000, Clint Bowyer won the 11th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. Bowyer becomes the first Kansas-native to win a NASCAR national series event at the track. Piloting the Kevin Harvick Inc. Bad Boy Buggies Toyota, he dominated the day leading 124 of 167 laps. This is Bowyer’s first win of the season and third NCWTS victory in 11 starts.
Kyle Busch ended his three-race win streak finishing an uncharacteristically low sixth place. “We had a horrible truck all day,” Busch said. “Just was fighting real, real tight. Couldn’t get it to where it needed to be. We came in and tried to make wholesale changes and work on the track bar — do something because all we were going to do was finish fourth or fifth. That’s all we had anyway.”
Though Busch didn’t even lead a lap during the race, that didn’t stop him from grabbing headlines. After tapping RCR development driver Joey Coulter on the cool down lap, owner Richard Childress allegedly put Busch into a headlock and punched him until he fell to the ground. The two camps and NASCAR haven’t released any information regarding the matter, but expect word soon. Read more about the incident here.
Johnny Sauter countered the statement “second place is the first loser” by moving into the NCWTS points lead. He knocked down rookie Cole Whitt 12 points to second, who finished 15th. “I say all the time that we want to win races, but the championship is definitely something we are keeping our eye on,” Sauter said. “It’s probably too early to be looking at that, but a 12 point lead is huge.”
Rookies Joey Coulter and Parker Kligerman stole the spotlight instead by running up front all day. Coulter led a lap and won the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award, while Kligerman ran about fourth until problems in the pits near the end of the race knocked him to 11th.
The caution flag flew seven times for a total of 28 laps. It was brought out for a number of single-car spins involving Ron Hornaday Jr. (Lap 17), Brad Sweet (Lap 67), Nelson Piquet Jr. (Lap 73), and Clay Rogers (Lap 131). The only multi-car wreck was on Lap 111 when Shane Sieg ran into the back of Max Papis causing both trucks to crash in Turn 2.
Todd Bodine, James Buescher, and Joey Coulter round out your Top 5.
The next stop for the NCWTS is Texas Motor Speedway on June 10th.