Kansas NASCAR: Denny Hamlin wins, late crashes cause playoff drama

Jake Nichol
Hamlin wins, late crashes cause playoff drama
Hamlin wins, late crashes cause playoff drama

Denny Hamlin secured victory in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas for Joe Gibbs Racing as Chase Elliott edged Brad Keselowski out for the final playoff spot in overtime.

With 10 laps of the scheduled 267 to run, Hendrick Motorsports' Elliott was three points below the cutoff line for the 'round of eight' stage of the title fight.

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Keselowski's Penske Ford Mustang sat perilously on the bubble, lacking pace while mired in the midfield but still on course to go through to the next round.

A series of cautions then followed that took the race to overtime, where the first attempt was interrupted by polesitter Daniel Hemric and Daniel Suarez clashing - causing a chain reaction in which reigning Cup champion Joey Logano went for a high-speed spin over the grass.

Stage one winner Logano had not looked in any jeopardy until that incident sent him tumbling down the order.

His eventual 16th place in his repaired car kept him in championship contention.

At the restart Hamlin's #11 JGR Toyota Camry held off Elliott's Chevrolet Camaro to take his fifth win of the season.

With Keselowski having a messy final restart and falling back to 19th, Elliott's second place got him into the next round by just three points.

Elliott is now the only Hendrick driver in title contention as both Alex Bowman and William Byron were knocked out.

Bowman could only make it to 11th after picking up early damage, but Byron ran strongly in the top 10 for most of the race.

He knew only a win would secure him passage into the next round, though, and finished fifth behind Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt.

Third and sixth places for Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr kept them in the title hunt based on their points from this round.

Erik Jones was seventh ahead of the highest placed Ford Mustang finisher, Clint Bowyer, in eighth - a result not good enough to prevent Bowyer's playoff elimination.

Bowyer's Stewart-Haas team-mate Kevin Harvick rose from last on the grid, after a driveshaft problem in qualifying, to ninth.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10 in his Camaro, despite running as high as third just before the overtime flags flew.

Kyle Larson dominated the opening stage for Chip Ganassi Racing, extending his lead by nearly a second a lap at times, but a late caution and subsequent restart hobbled the #42 and it dropped to a lowly 14th.

Both Larson and 21st-placed Ryan Blaney had earned their 'round of eight' places with race wins in the 'round of 12'.

Hemric, starting from his first pole position, quickly dropped back in the race on his way to a 31st place finish.

Race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

277

3h02m39.s

2

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

277

0.128s

3

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

277

0.266s

4

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

277

0.493s

5

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

277

0.543s

6

Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

277

0.796s

7

Erik Jones

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

277

1.005s

8

Clint Bowyer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

277

1.125s

9

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

277

1.405s

10

Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

277

1.407s

11

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

277

1.537s

12

Ryan Preece

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

277

1.786s

13

Chris Buescher

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

277

1.948s

14

Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

277

2.233s

15

Matt DiBenedetto

Leavine Family Racing

Toyota

277

2.246s

16

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

277

2.589s

17

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

277

2.604s

18

Paul Menard

Wood Brothers Racing

Ford

277

2.858s

19

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

277

3.003s

20

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

277

3.032s

21

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ford

277

4.090s

22

Ty Dillon

Germain Racing

Chevrolet

276

1 Lap

23

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

274

3 Laps

24

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

274

3 Laps

25

Matt Tifft

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

273

4 Laps

26

David Ragan

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

273

4 Laps

27

Ross Chastain

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

272

5 Laps

28

Corey LaJoie

Go FAS Racing

Ford

272

5 Laps

29

Parker Kligerman

Gaunt Brothers Racing

Toyota

271

6 Laps

30

J.J. Yeley

Petty Ware Racing

Ford

271

6 Laps

31

Daniel Hemric

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

270

Accident

32

Daniel Suarez

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

270

Accident

33

Reed Sorenson

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

268

9 Laps

34

Garrett Smithley

Rick Ware Racing

Ford

267

10 Laps

35

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Richard Petty Motorsports

Chevrolet

263

Accident

36

Josh Bilicki

Rick Ware Racing

Ford

262

15 Laps

37

Landon Cassill

StarCom Racing

Chevrolet

203

Vibration

38

Joey Gase

MBM Motorsports

Toyota

107

Accident

39

Timmy Hill

Spire Motorsports

Chevrolet

95

Too slow

40

Ryan Newman

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

72

Accident

Playoff standings

Pos

Driver

Points

1

Kyle Busch

4046

2

Martin Truex Jr.

4042

3

Denny Hamlin

4037

4

Joey Logano

4030

5

Kevin Harvick

4028

6

Chase Elliott

4024

7

Kyle Larson

4011

8

Ryan Blaney

4009


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