Before the recently completed Kansas Speedway weekend gets too far in our rear-view mirror, let's take a look back at the winners and losers:
Martin Truex Jr.
Though he was understandably disappointed after a close runner-up finish to Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. was able to keep things in perspective after the race when he spoke with the media.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver acknowledged that even by finishing second, he sent a message to the rest of the garage he and his team are here to stay. It was a statement further driven home when you look at the standings and realize the former two-time Nationwide Series champion is second in points and has five straight top-10s heading into Richmond.
The question is no longer, "Is this team going to win this year?" but "When, and how often?"
For those counting at home, Hamlin crew chief Darian Grubb now has as many wins as the driver who unceremoniously dumped him last year – that being Tony Stewart, of course – and has his new team ahead of his old team in points.
Kansas was another relatively quiet day for Kevin Harvick. But don't dismiss his quietness as ineffectiveness, as Harvick battled back from running out of fuel to post his fifth top-10 finish in eight races and sits a comfortable sixth in points.
Bad luck has put Jeff Gordon in an unfamiliar position in the point standings. And unlike last year at this time when Gordon was buried back in the standings, he doesn't have a win to fall back on.
While it's far too early to panic, if I were Gordon, my number one priority at this point would be to do whatever it takes to win. If that means gambling on fuel or tires, so be it, because it's looking like wild card or bust for the four-time series champion.
In the two races since Ryan Newman scored Stewart-Haas Racing's third win of the year at Martinsville, Stewart-Haas Racing has fallen off the map. Neither Tony Stewart nor Newman finished in the top 10 at Texas or Kansas, with the best result between the two being Stewart's mediocre 13th-place run Sunday.