This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Martin Truex Jr. wasn't able to steal Kevin Harvick's victory Saturday night in the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway. The Furniture Row Racing team tried to use track position to hold off the streaking Harvick, but the No. 4's fresher tires were more than Truex could handle, as Harvick closed him down and made the pass for the win.
The race initially set up a battle between Harvick and Kyle Larson as the pair dueled for supremacy early in the race. That battle was nixed when Larson made contact with Ryan Blaney, giving both machines damage. Larson soldiered on, but the speed bump proved too much to overcome before the finish. That left a late red flag period to set up a battle of track position versus fresh tires, and Harvick made sure that the fresh tire option won.
On tap are two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a build up to the biggest weekend in motorsport. The Showdown and All-Star Race are first up. NASCAR will use a new rules package in those events to spice up the already intense action, but most teams focus on returning to points-paying opportunities two weeks out in the traditional Memorial Day weekend 600-mile race. Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing have the current advantage, but this weekend's exhibition races could signal who will come out on top the following week in the season's longest race of the year.
Kevin Harvick – Harvick picked up in Kansas right where he left off