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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Photo finish for racers at the Kansas Speedway

The closest ending to a race in NASCAR history


By DIEGO CERNA — sports@theaggie.org


On May 5, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) held the AdventHealth 400 race at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The winner, Kyle Larson, was able to beat out runner-up Chris Buescher in the final stretch of the race with a margin of 0.001 seconds, the closest margin of victory for first place in NASCAR history. 

This NASCAR season has shown some of the closest photo finishes ever. Kansas City’s 0.001 second finish broke the record of a 0.002 second finish earlier this season at the Texas NASCAR Cup Xfinity’s Series (NXS) on April 13. Sam Mayer inched out the victory over Ryan Sieg in the 200 lap race for the Texas NXS title. 

Before that exhilarating race, The Ambetter Health NASCAR Cup held in Atlanta held a finish of 0.003 seconds for first place on Feb. 25. The race proved challenging as Daniel Suárez was able to beat out Ryan Bailey in the 260 lap race by nearly no time.

The most recent AdventHealth 400 was supposed to be a total of 267 laps for all racers, but the race went into overtime to ensure that there would be a green flag finish, signaling when the final two laps of a race would commence. Buescher had been leading the race up until lap 261, where he spun out. This caused a caution period, as cars are forced to slow down due to unsafe conditions. Buescher’s spin had also caused a restart, which forced cars to go to the pit and start over before going into overtime. 

With two laps to go, fifth-place finisher Denny Hamlin led the pack with Buescher in second and Larson in third. Going into the final lap, Hamlin fell among the pack with Buescher and Larson in first and second just before the final lap commenced. 

On the final backstretch of lap 267, Larson found a sliver of space between the wall and Buescher’s car in order to get better positioning and make them neck and neck into the final turn. After gaining the position, Larson and Buescher’s cars collided as they approached the finish line side-by-side.

At first glance, it looked as if Buescher had won, with Buescher’s pit team even celebrating right before the results were announced. After officials reviewed the replay, however, it was determined that Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet’s front had just barely hit the finish line first, giving the victory to Larson.

Many people have compared the photo finish line picture to Disney Pixar’s film Lightning McQueen, where cars finished side by side to end the race. 

Larson’s victory marks his second victory so far this season, and the 25th overall victory of his career. 

“That race from start to finish was amazing. That first stage was incredible. The second stage at the end was fun, and then that whole last stage with the wrecks and cautions and then fuel strategy and tires running long and all that was wild,” Larson stated in a press conference after the game. 

The next two NASCAR Cup Series races will continue in North Carolina for the remainder of May, as racers make their way in the middle of the season to determine who advances to the NASCAR Cup Playoffs beginning in August.


Written by: Diego Cerna — sports@theaggie.org


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