Found April 22, 2012 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
KANSAS CITY, Kan. Denny Hamlin got the confetti shower. Mother Nature got the last laugh. "Well, (it was the) conditions," sighed Brian Pattie, crew chief for local favorite Clint Bowyer, one of 11 casualties Sunday at the STP 400. "I don't think they anticipated 60 degrees and cloudy." We were supposed to see Saturday's sequel at Kansas Speedway: 68-69 degrees, sunny, and breezy. Instead, it was about 10 degrees cooler, the sky was a wash of grey soup, and a gust persisted from the north at roughly 20 miles per hour. Fans dressed for early May and wound up being greeted by a slice of mid-October. In the pits, pre-race setups turned into a crapshoot. When Pattie threw caution to the wind, it landed somewhere west of Olathe. "It was pretty important because the forecast itself changed 10 degrees just in a matter of 24 hours," offered Darian Grubb, Hamlin's crew chief. "So we pretty much had to guess what was going to happen." Grubb and the Hamlin team guessed right. Several didn't. Unofficially, eight different drivers suffered some kind of engine problem over the course of the race. Officially, there were three drivers Bowyer, the Emporia, Kan., native, being the most notable who didn't finish because of engine issues. Another two didn't finish because of engine-related overheating. Cooler-than-expected conditions meant a harder track surface, tighter grip, and less give. Throw in the wind, and suddenly every time and how hard you hit the accelerator became a spin of the roulette wheel. "That was something, as a driver, you tried to manage all day, and (try) not to run it up," noted Kevin Harvick, who started second and wound up sixth. "It was a lot cloudier which brought our RPMs up and gave us more grip as well, tightened the track a little bit." The surface was already pretty well beat up; somebody earlier in the weekend had pulled a hunk of concrete about the size of a Big Mac from the track. Kansas Speedway is slated to be repaved and reconfigured over the summer, before the Sprint Cup series returns in October. "I think it made a lot of difference," said points leader Greg Biffle, who who'd been warned on Lap 97 to take it easy on the gas. "We have a 9800 RPM limit and we were getting close to that on this front stretch. "This'll give the guys a chance to go home, look at all the data and find out, maybe learn something about how we were, and how much margin we have." A cold track also put passing at a premium. Of Sunday's top 8 finishers, none started the race farther back than 18th (Kenseth), and five began the afternoon among the top 9. In all, there were 14 lead changes and just three cautions on the day. "It's more of a track-position type race when there's overcast conditions," said Hamlin, who snatched the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with 31 laps to go and rode that rally all the way to Victory Lane. "When the sun is out, the drivers, in my opinion, are more prominent. Your driver can move around, find the grip, do things in the car to make up for what his car doesn't have. So the slicker the conditions are, the better it tends to lead (for) our race team." With about half-hour left in the race, the mush in the sky melted. The clouds began to part. The sun finally broke through. For that matter, so did Hamlin. You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at

Hamlin's team changes working well early

Denny Hamlin sure has ridden the roller coaster the last few years. Think back to 2010 when he won eight races and was vying for the championship right up to and including the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He ended up finishing second to Jimmie Johnson that season. In 2011, it was literally the completely other end of the spectrum for he and his Joe Gibbs...

Denny Hamlin wins STP 400 at Kansas

Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag Sunday at Kansas in a race that saw engine problems plague a number of drivers and nearly all car companies. Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. Engine failures cost several drivers Sunday, including polesitter AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Brian...

Denny Hamlin Holds Off Martin Truex Jr. to Win at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Denny Hamlin held off hard-charging Martin Truex Jr. down the stretch on Sunday to win at Kansas Speedway for the first time. Truex had dominated most of the race, but Hamlin had gone to the front when his car hooked up under the first sunshine of the afternoon. Truex mounted a comeback, diving low with a couple laps left, but he couldn't make the move stick...

Kansas begins repave immediately

No sooner had Denny Hamlin pulled off the track and into Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway on Sunday than did a tank and an earth mover from the National Guard rumble back onto the asphalt. It was the ceremonial start to a repaving and reconfiguring of the 1.5-mile oval, where large chunks of pavement had come loose over the weekend. One piece, about 5 inches long and a couple inches...

Hamlin gets by dominant Truex to win at Kansas

Martin Truex Jr. dominated the STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, but as the handling went away on his No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, another Toyota, the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing entry of Denny Hamlin, was able to get by for the lead with 31 laps remaining in the 267-lap race to drive on to the win. “I’d love to see one of his (Michael Waltrip’s...

Hamlin offers lots of credit in win

A Toyota powered its way into Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, but it's not the Camry some expected. Martin Truex Jr. promised the crew if he could get to the front and in clean air, he "would be gone." And he was for 173 laps, the most NASCAR Sprint Cup circuits on which Truex has remained at the point since he won at Dover International Speedway in June...

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin Wins STP 400 at Kansas Speedway

Denny Hamlin had to hold off a hard-charging Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday to win his second race of the season in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota. It was the first win for Hamlin at 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, as the Joe Gibbs Racing driver held off Truex by 0.700 seconds at the finish line as Truex's No. 56 NAPA Toyota became extremely loose at the end after leading a race-high 173 laps...

Kansas Speedway Gets a Facelift

                                                                                                                                                                                      No sooner had Denny...

RotoWire NASCAR Barometer: Richmond

It has been a long time since so many drivers had engine troubles at a race, but Sunday's 400 miles at Kansas Speedway put the metal to the test. A number of drivers lost cylinders and struggled to get to the finish, while Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin sped away in the lead. As the laps ticked by it appeared Hamlin and Truex would duke it out for the trophy...

RotoWire NASCAR Barometer

It has been a long time since so many drivers had engine troubles at a race, but Sunday's 400 miles at Kansas Speedway put the metal to the test. A number of drivers lost cylinders and struggled to get to the finish, while Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin sped away in the lead. As the laps ticked by it appeared Hamlin and Truex would duke it out for the trophy...

NASCAR: Drivers on the Move After Kansas

A second consecutive race at an intermediate track featuring long green flag runs once again separated the contenders from the pretenders. There were no lucky finishes on the Midwest plains on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, where drivers had to earn every spot in the finishing order. This week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the short track at Richmond, where grit and grind determine...

NASCAR Victory Lap: Week In Review, 4-23-2012

Martin Truex Jr. had plenty of speed and spent a lot of time at the front of the pack, but in the end, he wasn’t quite fast enough to catch Denny Hamlin in Sunday’s STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway. Their exciting battle for the lead at the race’s end, the final one before Kansas receives a necessary resurfacing, capped off another exciting week in NASCAR that saw Hamlin become...
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