Sparks Fly, Cars Crash at Go Bowling 400

Never racing on Mother’s Day, the Monster Energy Cup Series holds its first night race of the season with some Saturday night racing with the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.

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The inspection monster once again reared its ugly head with eleven drivers missing out on qualifying due to issues in the inspection process, most notably the laser inspection station. For the second time this season seven time Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson failed to qualify for the race and will have to start the race in the second half of the field. The sport’s most popular driver and Johnson team mate Dale Earnhardt Jr also did not qualify for the race. Kasey Kahne Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill, and Carl Long also failed to qualify for the race.

Nearly half of the field failed inspection on the first time through.

The starting line up for the drivers who did not qualify for the race will be determined by car owner points.

Ryan Blaney earned his first career pole…at the track where he ran his first Cup race.

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The starting lineup for the Go Bowling 400:
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kyle Busch
Kurst Busch
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Austin Dillon
Jamie McMurray
Aric Almirola
Matt Kenseth
Daniel Suarez
Trevor Bayne
Paul Menard
Ryan Newman
Chris Buescher
AJ Allmendinger
Ty Dillon
Matt DiBenedetto – moved to the back of the field for an unapproved tire change
Danica Patrick
Gray Gaulding
Cole Whitt
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Derrike Cope
Jimmie Johnson
Clint Bowyer
Kasey Kahne
Erik Jones
Dale Earnhardt Jr
David Ragan
Michael McDowell – moved to the back of the field for an engine change
Landon Cassill
Reed Sorenson
Corey LaJoie
Timmy Hill
Carl Long

Stages one and two are 80 laps with stage three lasting 107 laps. Kansas Speedway is a mile and a half track. The drivers will make 267 laps around the track to make up 400 miles.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of the race nad takes the lead.

Lap five Ryan Blaney has a lead of over half a second on second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

Driving it like he stole it, Jimmie Johnson has moved up a dozen spots to 18th on lap eight.

Lap nine Martin Truex Jr has caught up with Ryan Blaney and is challenging for the lead of the race.

On lap 10 Martin Truex Jr passes Ryan Blaney to take over the lead.

Lap 12 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of nearly a second on Ryan Blaney. Jimmie Johnson has moved up to 13th place.

Lap 22 Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of two seconds on second place driver Kyle Busch.

Lap 24, after starting in 31st, Dale Earnhardt Jr has moved up nine spots to 22nd.

Lap 26 Martin Truex Jr’s lead is down to just over a second on Kyle Busch.

Landon Cassill brings out the first caution flag on lap 28 when he cuts a tire and gets into the wall. Gray Gaulding is the “lucky dog”.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 35 and takes the lead of the race.

On lap 40 Jimmie Johnson have moved into the top 10 after starting the race in 30th place.

Lap 43 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over a second on second place driver Ryan Blaney. There are 33 cars on the lead lap.

Landon Cassill again brings out the caution flag on lap 50 with another tire issue that results in hitting the wall again.

Michael McDowell and Chase Elliott make contact on pit road just missing Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew members.

Danica Patrick was caught speeding on pit road.

On lap 55 Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart and pulls out in front for the lead.

Ty Dillon spins out on the back stretch bringing out the third caution flag of the race on lap 59 – NASCAR has deemed the stop a “quickie yellow” allowing all drivers that wish to make a pit stop. Reed Sorenson is the “lucky dog”.

Chase Elliott is penalized for having too many crew members over the pit wall.

Choosing the outside lane, Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 62 but loses the lead to Kyle Busch.

Clint Bowyer is reporting brake issues.

Lap 68 Chase Elliott returns to pit road to make repairs after the pit road crash with Michael McDowell.

Lap 71 Kyle Busch has a lead of just under half a second on second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

Three laps to go in stage one and Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly a second on Martin Treux Jr.

Kyle Busch gets his first stage win since the start of the season in Daytona. Reed Sorenson is the “lucky dog”.

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The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Larson
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Kurt Busch

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

Jimmie Johnson is penalized for driving for too many pit boxes on pit road. He will have to restart the race in 31st place.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two and gets an immediate challenge from Kyle Busch. Truex holds off Busch to take the lead of the race.

The drivers are getting four wide across the track.

Lap 92 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of nearly a second on Kyle Busch.

Erik Jones brings out the fifth caution flag when he spins out on lap 97. Landon Cassill is the “lucky dog”. Corey LaJoie was caught speeding on pit road.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 100 with Kyle Busch taking over the lead of the race.

Jimmie Johnson has slowed down on the track with a flat tire and will have to make an unscheduled pit stop after making contact with Kurt Busch.

NASCAR displays the green flag for debris on the track. Jeffrey Earnhardt is the “lucky dog”.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart and pulls out in front of the field on lap 105.

Lap 110 Kyle Busch has a lead o nearly a second on second place driver Ryan Blaney.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr has to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 115 for a loose tire.

Lap 120 Kyle Busch has a lead of over a second on second place driver Ryan Blaney.

Brad Keselowski comes down pit road with a bad vibration. Coming down pit road, he gets penalized for driving through too many pit boxes.

Lap 130 Kyle Busch has a lead of less than a second on Ryan Blaney. There are 28 cars on the lead lap with all 40 drivers still on the track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr is reporting a possible loose tire…again. Junior had loose tire issues last week in Talladega.

Kurt Busch has to come down pit road with a flat tire.

Lap 135 drivers are making green flag pits stops. Kurt Busch is on the five minute crash clock.

Corey LaJoie brings out the seventh caution flag of the race after getting into the wall on lap 137. Cole Whitt is the “lucky dog”.

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

The FOX broadcasting team keeps interjecting bowling terms in their broadcast…and trying to figure out what they call a series of strikes.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart and takes over the lead of the race.

Lap 145 Ryan Blaney has a lead o over a second on Kyle Larson.

Gray Gaulding brings out the eighth caution flag of the race on lap 147 after hitting the wall, smoking, and shredding a tire around the track. Kurt Busch is the “lucky dog”.

With only eight laps remaining in stage two, Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart and takes the lead of the race.

Now that the sun has gone down, the track temperature has dropped over 20 degrees.

Gray Gaulding is smoking. Ryan Newman reports that he blew an engine and becomes the first driver out of the race.

Ryan Blaney wins stage two.

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The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Jamie McMurray
Kyle Busch
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Matt Kenseth
Erik Jones
Joey Logano

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green start of stage three on lap 167 and takes the lead of the race with 100 laps to go.

Lap 173 Ryan Blaney has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 177 Martin Truex Jr is gaining on leader Ryan Blaney.

Lap 180 Martin Truex Jr challenges Ryan Blaney and takes over the lead of the race.

With only 78 laps remaining in the race, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over two seconds on Ryan Blaney.

Paul Menard and AJ Allmendinger bring out the tenth caution flag when they get into the wall on lap 194. Paul Menard continues to drive around the track after the crash and is trailing so many sparks that his looks like it is on fire.

Rayn Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

With 69 laps remaining in the race Ryan Blaney brings the field down or the green flag restart but Martin Truex Jr passes Blaney for the lead.

With 68 laps remaining in the race a big crash happens that sees cars severely damaged, in the air, and with sparks flying. Something broke on Joey Logano’s car and he hit Danica Patrick and then Aric Almirola plowed into them. Logano had a major brake issue that caused him to hit Patrick, Almiroloa’s car got airborne with the contact. Danica Patrick quickly jumped out of her car.

NASCAR has red flagged the race.

While he lowered his window net to signify he is fine, Aric Almirola took a long time to get out of his car. After such a hard impact the safety workers needed to aid him in getting out of the car. Aric is awake and talking with safety personnel while they work on getting him out of the car. Once cleared from the car, he is taken to the ambulance on a stretcher.

After the wreck the first words out of Joey Logano was is Danica all right?

Once pit road opens some of the drivers in the second half of the field come down pit road for service.

Aric Almirola is being airlifted to a local hospital for observation.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart with 63 laps remaining in the race. Kyle Larson brushes the wall but the track stays green.

Ryan Blaney passes Truex to retake the lead with 61 laps to go.

With t6 laps remaining in the race Ryan Blaney has a half second lead on Martin Truex Jr.

Erik Jones spins out with 52 laps to go and brings out the twelfth caution flag of the race. He avoided hitting the wall during the spin.

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart with 47 laps to go. Trevor Bayne jumps out in front of the field but gets passed by Kyle Busch for the lead.

Ryan Blaney passes Kyle Busch to take the lead.

With 37 laps to go, Ryan Blaney is still in the lead, but second place driver Martin Truex Jr is gaining on him with each remaining lap.

Lap 237 – 30 to go – and Ryan Blaney’s lead is down to less than half a second. Dale Earnhardt Jr comes down pit road with a vibration. He has bee reporting tire vibration issues for the past two weeks.

With 26 laps to go Ryan Blaney’s lead is down to a tenth of a second and Treux is challenging Blaney for the lead. With 25 laps to go Martin Truex Jr takes over the lead of the race.

Corey LaJoie brings out the 13th caution of the race when he hits the wall.

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road…by a nose!

After staying out, Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 248 but making a great restart, Martin Truex Jr gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 254 Truex is widening his lead of the race.

Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch get together and bring out the caution flag.

Martin Truex Jr gets out in front on the restart on lap 265.

Martin Truex Jr wins the Go Bowling 400 by over a second.

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The unofficial results of the Go Bowling 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Brad Keselowski
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson
Daniel Suarez
Jamie McMurray
Clint Bowyer
Trevor Bayne
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Matt Kenseth
Michael McDowell
Ty Dillon
Kasey Kahne
Austin Dillon
David Ragan
Chris Buescher
Kurt Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Landon Cassill
Erik Jones
Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson
Reed Sorenson
Cole Whitt
Corey LaJoie
Timmy Hill
Chase Elliott
AJ Allmendinger
Carl Long
Matt DiBendetto
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Gray Gaulding
Paul Menard
Danica Patrick
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Derrike Cope
Ryan Newman

photos courtesy of:
By Balaji – originally posted to Flickr as The Kansas Speedway, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11653317

By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901129

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41336076

By Joetregembo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51817575

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41336482


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