KANSAS CITY, Kan. - It was a challenging day for all drivers on Sunday as many drivers encountered tire issues before Kurt Busch emerged as winner of the Advent Health 400 at Kansas Speedway.
It was a particularly rough day for Ford, which saw Austin Cindric lead the way with an 11th-place finish. Penske teammate Ryan Blaney was right behind in 12th while Brad Keselowski was 14th, Kevin Harvick 15th and Joey Logano 17th.
Cindric showed strength early after leading the way for Ford in qualifying with a 4th-place run, but whlie pitting from fifth place on lap 37 he encountered a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. That sent him back to 31st and he spent the next stage working his way back towards the top 10.
Blaney was inside the back half of the top 10 the entire race, but found himself on the wrong end during the final restart and ended up hitting the wall trying to gain back some spots.
Aric Almirola may have been the fastest Ford as he qualified 7th. He was running 9th during the first stage, but ended up hitting the wall after Daniel Suarez spun directly in front of him. His Mustang suffered rear end damage and resulted in a 26th-place finish.
The Cup Series takes a week off from points racing to run the All-Star Race next Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st –Kurt Busch
2nd – Kyle Larson
3rd – Kyle Buscher
4th – Denny Hamlin
5th – Christopher Bell
6th – Martin Truex Jr.
7th – Ross Chastain
8th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
9th – Alex Bowman
10th – Bubba Wallace
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th – Austin Cindric
12th – Ryan Blaney
14th – Brad Keselowski
15th – Kevin Harvick
17th – Joey Logano
21st – Harrison Burton
22nd – Cole Custer
23rd – Michael McDowell
24th – Chase Briscoe
25th – Todd Gilliland
26th – Aric Almirola
27th – Chris Buescher
31st – JJ Yeley
34th – Cody Ware
36th – BJ McLeod
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Menards/Monster Ford Mustang
“I think the biggest thing I’m curious about is I felt like the track definitely changed. We were really strong there at the end of Stage 2. I don’t know if it was due to some of the cleaning of the track or what, but we went from being really solid – maybe just a little bit free – to kind of back to where I was at the beginning of the race, really tight. I wish we would have had a little more speed. I think we had to be perfect to run inside the top five today for sure. We had solid execution. Our guys did a great job during the week and getting used to the changes on the team and had to come back from a few issues and, all in all, a solid day. It’s something we needed to get stage points. I wish we could have gotten a top 10 out of it. We just missed out on that, but, overall, a solid effort.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang
“I’m just really disappointed. We can’t catch a break. It seems like my team is bringing me good cars. I feel like we were probably the best Ford and we could have ran fifth to eighth and we just don’t have the raw speed of our competitors right now. We have to have a perfect day and when Suarez crashed in front of me, I don’t know if I got in some fluid or what, but it just jumped out from underneath me and I got in the wall. We bent the suspension and rode around the rest of the day just trying to salvage a finish.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Wabash Ford Mustang
“It was a challenging day for sure. We got a lot better from where we started, so that was good. I thought we were gonna be able to finish pretty decent, but then I got put into a couple of bad spots on that last restart and kind of fell back, and then I tried too hard and hit the wall and ended up 12th. Overall, I appreciate the hard work. We got a lot better from where we started, but we just need to be better overall.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang
“We just ran a solid race. We kind of got the max potential that we had and the pit crew did a great job. We need to raise our max potential, but we executed with everything we had so I’m happy for that.”
HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 DEX Imaging Ford Mustang
“We ran better than we finished, which is frustrating. You want it to be the other way, but just really free at the end. It’s really hard to drive these things loose, so I don’t know if I need to do a better job or what, but when we get loose we struggle pretty bad. It was a handful at the end and it’s definitely frustrating. I felt like we were getting better throughout the day and then on the last run we finally jumped over the cushion on too far. We were tight, tight, tight all day and couldn’t get it to turn and then all of a sudden the last run I’m crashing on entry and crashing on exit, so it’s frustrating. Overall, we just have to keep digging. It’s not what we want, but we’ll keep going.”