Kyle Busch crashes, Matt Kenseth wins and in between a whole lot happened at Kansas Speedway. Here is a look back at the NASCAR winners and losers from the STP 400.
When Matt Kenseth joined Joe Gibbs Racing, expectations were that the No. 20 team would return to its once lofty standards. And if for whatever reason those expectations were not met, it would be crew chief Jason Ratcliff who would get the brunt of the blame.
And while Kenseth is justifiably getting a lot of the accolades, don't overlook Ratcliff's contributions, especially Sunday. In a race where the track conditions were vastly different at the end than they were at the start, the 20 car was consistently fast throughout and that was because the guy atop the pit box made the right adjustments and called a perfect race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
At Kansas, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looked like the driver who had won two consecutive Nationwide Series championships. He led 26 laps on the afternoon and would have been in contention for his first career win were it not for a late caution for debris. Maybe most importantly, he showed patience -- which at times he's lacked this year -- not overdriving his car and falling victim to a slippery track which befuddled far more experienced drivers.
Aric Almirola's eighth-place finish at Kansas followed a seventh at Texas, marking the first time he's scored top 10s in consecutive races. It's also a further testament that despite a limited number of resources, the No. 43 team is making strides, evident by the fact that a quarter of the way through the season it finds itself in Chase contention.
Roush Fenway Racing
The STP 400 was expected to be a showdown between Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. And in the latter stages it appeared as if Roush would prevail as three of the four JGR cars wrecked while Stenhouse and Carl Edwards battled for the lead. But an inopportune yellow flag trapped the Roush cars a lap down and they never recovered.
Meanwhile, Kenseth assumed the lead and for the fourth time in six races a JGR car went to Victory Lane. Adding salt into the wound, despite the promise, no Roush finished in the top 10 with Stenhouse 11th, Edwards 17th and Greg Biffle, a complete nonfactor all day, being scored in 19th.
Sam Hornish Jr. and Elliott Sadler
With Nationwide off, Sam Hornish Jr. and Elliott Sadler moonlighted in NASCAR's top series and made their first Cup starts of the year. Each entered the weekend hoping to turn in a good run at Kansas that would lead to a full-time ride in 2014. That never materialized. Instead, both were involved in separate incidents with Hornish finishing in 37th place, Sadler 40th.
Juan Pablo Montoya
When Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing made the switch this offseason to Hendrick horsepower, it was supposed to be the missing ingredient to revitalize an organization which had fallen on hard times. But the change has only seemed to work for Jamie McMurray, who has three top 10s and is ranked 13th overall, as Juan Pablo Montoya continues to languish.
Through eight races, Montoya has a best result of 12th and an average finish of 26.4. Consequently, he finds himself 27th in points after finishing three laps down in 27th at Kansas. Not the performance a driver in a contract year needs as he attempts to show he's worthy of another an extension.