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

Jake Nichol
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.

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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