Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway Recap

in sports •  last year 

"Yeah it was awesome." - Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott takes advantage of Kevin Harvick's speeding on pit row penalty to claim the checkered flag for the Hollywood Casino 400

Things in NASCAR can sure change fast. Halfway through the season folks were starting to wonder if Chase Elliot would ever win a race. Now entering the round of eight he is the hottest driver on the circuit. On Sunday Elliott took advantage of a speeding penalty on Kevin Harvick while holding off the hard charging duo of Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson to claim the checkered flag for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It's his second win in the last three races and his third win overall on the season.

"It’s been a great couple of months so we’ve got to keep it rolling. This is the time of year that counts," said Elliott.

Joey Logano began the race from the pole position and started the race off in dominating fashion by leading 60 of the first 80 laps on his way to winning Stage One. He found more competition in Stage Two as his teammate Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick each made a charge to the front of the pack. The trio swapped the race lead back and forth before Harvick took the lead with 22 laps remaining in the stage and held on for the win in Stage Two.

During the Stage Two caution, Logano suffered from a pit-road mishap when a hose got stuck under his car and dropped him out of contention for the race lead. As the final stage began, Blaney's car started to fade and Harvick seized control of the race. Harvick was still in the lead as the field made its final green flag pit-stops of the day when his season-long pit-road woes came to the forefront once again as Harvick was hit with a pit-road speeding penalty.

Brad Keselowski didn't pit with the rest of the field and moved into the lead after Harvick's penalty. He was gambling for a yellow flag and a free pit-stop, but his strategy didn't pan out. After ten laps he finally was forced to pit and Chase Elliott took over. Elliott started out with a comfortable three second lead, but Kyle Busch came alive and began to hunt Elliott down with Kyle Larson charging right behind him. Busch was able to cut the lead to under a second, yet in the end was unable to catch Elliott as Chase was able to cross the finish line in first.

"We had a great race there at the end," Busch said. "We were trying to chase down Chase. We were close. Got kind of there, then just the car died out, didn’t have any more to go. I was afraid that was going to happen. Good day for us."

Kyle Busch finished runner-up while Kyle Larson came home in third place. Larson was fighting for his playoff life as he needed a victory to move into the round of eight. He came so frustratingly close, but still a little short.

"I felt like maybe if I could have been behind Chase there at the end with the line he was running maybe I could have done something with him," said Larson. "But, all in all a good effort today. We did everything we could just came up a couple of spots short."

Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. round out the top-five. Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney also needed to win to advance into the next round, but finished in sixth and seventh place respectively. Joey Logano led the most laps with 100 and recovered from his pit-road mishap to finish in eighth place.

Joey Logano was the winner of Stage One and Kevin Harvick took the checkered green for Stage Two. Since each driver advanced into the round of eight they will receive bonus points for their playoff totals.

Click here for full race results.

The Hollywood Casino 400 was the final race of the second elimination round in the NASCAR playoffs. Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman are eliminated as the playoff field is cut from twelve to eight. Keselowski's departure is the most surprising as he rode into the playoffs on a hot streak and won the first playoff race in Las Vegas. He lost momentum in the second round as he only recorded one top-ten finish in the three races.

The eight remaining drivers will now battle it out over the next three races in the third and final elimination round before the top four drivers compete for the NASCAR Cup Series Title at the championship race in Homestead. Any playoff driver who wins a race in the third round is guaranteed a spot in the championship race. The other positions will be filled based on total points scored.

The Big Three have been the dominant force in NASCAR this year and it comes as no surprise that the trio sits atop the playoff points standings entering the third round. Kyle Busch leads the way with Kevin Harvick sitting in second only one point behind him with 4055 and 4054 points respectively. Martin Truex Jr. is in third with 4038 points. Chase Elliott, winner of two out of the last three races, is currently fourth with 4018 points.

Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola round out the field of eight and currently sit below the elimination line.

You can see the updated Driver's Playoff Points Standings here.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue next week with some short-track action as the series returns to Martinsville Speedway for the First Data 500.

Photo credits: royalbroil CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Author: @chops316
Editor: @liberty-minded


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