Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas Speedway

Despite that the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway was the Round 2 elimination race, transferring 8 of 12 drivers onto the last round before Homestead-Miami, it was surprisingly calm and relatively uneventful.  The tension and desire to advance definitely was audible in pre-race, playoff-driver interviews, but it didn’t transfer to the track in a reckless way.  Certainly, drivers in a must-win situation were shoulders up on the wheel, but there weren’t any chaotic moments, underhanded maneuvers, or avoidable crashes.  The race was… tame.

Pole Sitter Joey Logano leads the field to green

Pole Sitter Joey Logano in the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford dominated the first stage, leading the field to green and then quickly pulling away.  He hung onto the lead for 100 full laps, securing another playoff point with the Stage 1 win and finishing Top 10 once again, in the 8th position.  His consistency all year has kept his playoff hopes alive and he easily advances to the Round of 8.

Stage 1 caused points standings to bounce up and down quite a bit for playoff drivers, especially those that went into the race just a few points above or below the cut line. As a viewer, if you were looking for drama, it most definitely was on the leaderboard as playoff drivers continuously rose and fell and traded places in the points standings. Ultimately, however, the segment was humdrum, with the exception of one caution flag that came out for the #24 Camaro of William Byron when he fell victim to a blown engine.  With smoke billowing out of the car and dropping a fair bit of oil as it went, Byron immediately drove the car behind the wall and ended his day.

Kevin Harvick wins Stage 2 but later incurs a Speeding Penalty on Pit Road

Stage 2 saw Kevin Harvick drive toward the front as though his pit crew had just filled his #4 Busch Light Ford with rocket fuel.  He was lightning fast, easily overtaking teammate Aric Almirola as he headed for the Stage 2 win and continued to lead with the restart.

However, on Lap 214 of Stage 3, Harvick was slapped with a pit road speeding violation during his last green-flag stop and he immediately lost a lap as he served the pass-through penalty.

Brad Keselowski remained out front, but when he came to pit road on Lap 224, Chase Elliott assumed the lead and there he would stay.

Elliott’s #9 Mountain Dew Camaro showed a great deal of long-run speed, which was surprising considering the car hadn’t handled well during practice and or qualifying, and he had lined up in the 13th position.  Finally, up front and in clean air, he drove to an impressive lead with 30 laps remaining.

Meanwhile, Kyle Busch, who had been gaining speed as he ran the wall, quickly began to close the gap on Elliott’s 3-second lead. Behind him, Kyle Larson, who was in a must-win situation after losing the appeal from penalties incurred at Talladega, was also quickly closing in.

Chase Elliott Celebrates 3rd Win of the Season

As the 3 lead cars headed into lapped traffic, Busch’s speed stalled with only 5 laps to go, allowing Larson to get a bit closer.

In the end, there wasn’t enough time for either to catch Elliott who crossed the finish line and took his 2nd win in the Round of 12, which is his 3rd win of the season.

Unfortunately for Kyle Larson, placing 3rd was not enough to transfer and his playoff hopes came to an end.  Also eliminated from the Round of 12 are Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski.

Chase Elliott transfers to the Round of 8 as the ONLY Chevrolet driver. Joining him are Kyle BuschJoey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, and Aric Almirola. 

Next Sunday, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs head to Martinsville Speedway for the first race of Round 3.

Share This Post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *