Motorsport News

The Best Kansas Race Ever?

NASCAR Cup Series

What Happened?

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Denny Hamlin tangled with Kyle Larson in some last lap contact to pass and win his first race of 2023 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, May 7. William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Ross Chastain rounded out the top five, respectively.

This was Hamlin’s 49th career NASCAR Cup Series win and first victory since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway one year ago.

But What Really Happened?

Sunday’s 400-miler appeared to have everything race fans wanted and more.

On a day when NASCAR needed an exceptional race, amidst a head-to-head broadcast against Formula One in one of its biggest races of the year in the Miami Grand Prix, NASCAR fans saw last-lap crashes and passes for the lead, a record number of lead changes and one big fight. Oh my.

It almost didn’t happen that way, either. The first stage of the 267-lap event was dominated by Toyotas — not too surprising considering they had won both Kansas races with 23XI Racing in 2022. Yet by the end of the event, it was Larson and Hamlin in a duel between two of NASCAR’s newly named Top 75 drivers.

Larson ran the high line as Larson does, all the while zigging and zagging through lapped traffic while Hamlin creeped behind the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and slowly approached its back bumper in the closing laps.

It all came to a climax on the last lap, when the two made contact — or so we think.

As to who’s at fault, the jury is still out, and you can put blame on whoever you wish, but many were already calling Sunday’s race the best of all of 2023 as a result of the last lap entanglement. And really, you can’t blame them for thinking so.

But on top of a thrilling finish between the two, and a race that saw 22 drivers earn triple-digit numbers of green flag passes, neither of those are the biggest story of the day.

While Larson and Hamlin stayed respectful as a result of their on-track contact, there are a couple other drivers who weren’t.

Who Stood Out?

Chastain earned a new enemy on Sunday, in…

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