Sunday Kansas Notebook

(Todd Warshaw/2015 Getty Images) By REID SPENCER

The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet sported a green paint scheme on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, but the car was running like a certain black No. 3 of old.

In his strongest run of the season, Austin Dillon had the No. 3 solidly in fifth place and was chasing reigning series champion Kevin Harvick for fourth on Lap 155 of the Hollywood Casino 400.

But Dillon’s day came to a thudding end when the right front tire blew and sent the car hard into the Turn 2 wall.

“Man, what a bummer!” Dillon said. “I guess we just cut a right front tire. I don’t know if I ran over something, or what. It showed a little heat the second run but not that much.

“We’re carrying a lot of speed around the top of the track, and just cut a tire. If we bring another car like this one to the racetrack this year, we’ll end up with a win.”


As poorly as Jeff Gordon’s car was handling on Sunday during his last run at Kansas Speedway, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet was in danger of losing touch with the top contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

But Gordon persevered, salvaging a 10th-place finish that left him sixth in the Chase standings — but with no margin for error as the series moves to Talladega next Sunday.

“We were absolutely as far off as you could be,” Gordon said of his balky Chevy. “I don’t know. The thing qualified amazing, and ever since we put it in race trim, it just is not comfortable, hasn’t felt good, and we’ve struggled with it.

“That was one of the hardest top 10s I’ve ever had to go through. I’m proud of the team. They fought hard, and that’s why we’re where we’re at. But, gosh, that was ugly.”

In all likelihood, Gordon will need to avoid disaster at Talladega to advance to the Eliminator 8 Round of the Chase.

“Every point means something — it just doesn’t mean anything as far as our approach for Talladega next week,” Gordon said. “I’m real confident in our race cars and our race team. I’m excited about our chances at actually winning there.

“I just don’t like the chances of being in a wreck, because they are usually high, but we’re going to go and approach it where we are going to be aggressive and race hard. We’ll just see where the points end up.”


In one of the hardest hits of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Clint Bowyer angled into the SAFER barrier off Turn 2 and destroyed his No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry.

The accident on Lap 171 caused the fifth caution of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 — and it ruined a promising outing at the track closest to Bowyer’s Emporia, Kansas, home.

“It was a hard hit,” said Bowyer, who was running in the top 15 at the time. “We were actually having some fun, doing a little better than I actually thought we were going to. Just disappointed and frustrated. You always hate to have something like that happen, especially at home.”

Bowyer was chasing Jeff Gordon at the time of the wreck.

“I was following Gordon there, and I started to catch him back,” Bowyer said. “I went in (to the corner), and he kind of took my line away, and I tried to pull down. And as soon as my headlight got out (from behind Gordon’s car) and got some air in it, man it turned me.

“I probably should have just spun to the inside, but I thought I could save it. Guess I didn’t save it. Man, it hit hard.”