After the craziness last weekend at the Charlotte Roval, the stars of NASCAR’s top-tier series make their way to Kansas Speedway to begin the NASCAR Playoffs Round of Eight. Last weekend’s winner, Chase Elliott, lined up first with Joey Logano scheduled to start with him on the front row. Playoff contender Martin Truex Jr. failed pre-race tech more than once and gave up his starting position on the third row to drop to the back of the field.
Just after 11:45 am PST, Chase Elliott took the green flag with Joey Logano to his outside. Chase Elliott was able to pull away with the lead going to Turn One as Logano, Kurt Busch, and Kevin Harvick battled for second. Lap 25 brought out the competition caution with Chase Elliott holding the lead and Kevin Harvick in second. All lead lap cars came down to the pits for service. By taking two tires, William Byron exited the pits in first.
William Byron lined up in the first position with Chase Elliott to his outside as the race resumed on Lap 31. Through Turns Three and Four, Kevin Harvick was able to get around Byron and Elliott to overtake the lead. As the laps in the stage wound down, Chase Elliott was able to maneuver past Harvick and retake the lead with 17 laps left. Though hunted by Brad Keselowski, Elliott was able to maintain his position and took the green-and-white checkered flag, ending Stage One. The lead lap cars came down to the pits for service, with Denny Hamlin exiting ahead of Chase Elliott.
Denny Hamlin brought the field back to green with Chase Elliott to his inside. After a side-by-side battle with Elliott, Denny Hamlin held onto the lead as Elliott fell to third place behind Ryan Blaney. As the stage crossed the halfway point, lead-lap cars began making green flag pitstops. As green flag pitstops neared completion, the caution came out as Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones got together coming out of Turn Four. The race resumed on Lap 150 with Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin on the front row.
Denny Hamlin was able to power to the lead as Ryan Blaney followed closely in second. Kevin Harvick was able to make his way through traffic and took second from Blaney. Harvick and Hamlin battled for the final few laps of the stage, with Hamlin taking the green-and-white checkered flag.
The final stage of the day resumed with Joey Logano leading the rest of the field. Kevin Harvick did not allow Logano to get away and retook the lead on Lap 170. Denny Hamlin got loose coming out of Turn Four and made contact with the wall. The race stayed green, but Hamlin needed to make an unscheduled pitstop to change tires. Not long after, playoff contender Kurt Busch lost an engine and exited the race with 70 laps left. All lead lap cars came down to the pits for tires and fuel. Kevin Harvick maintained the lead as Kyle Busch followed in second.
With 62 laps left in the race, Harvick brought the field back to green with Kyle Busch to the inside. Harvick easily held onto the lead as Joey Logano took over the second position. Daniel Hemric brought out the caution with 47 laps remaining after making contact with the outside wall. Kevin Harvick led the lead lap cars down to the pits for tires and fuel. Joey Logano was able to gain a position and obtain the lead from Harvick, who exited in second.
Joey Logano brought the field back to green with 42 laps remaining and Kevin Harvick to his inside. Joey Logano was able to maintain his lead as Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Preece made contact. The race continued as Harvick and Blaney battled for the second position. As the laps clicked down, Logano and Harvick pulled away from the rest of the field. Harvick tried to live up to his nickname of “The Closer” but could not complete the feat as Logano was able to hold on and took the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Overall, this was the quietest race at Kansas Speedway over the weekend. The best drivers of the day consistently found their way to the top and battled it out for the victory. Joey Logano did his job and was able to punch his ticket to the Championship Four at Phoenix. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
Next week, it’s off to Texas Motor Speedway for the second race of the Round of Eight.