Logano wins the battle at Kansas; clinches Championship 4 spot

With a championship spot on the line, Joey Logano punched his ticket into the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway after emerging with the lead following a pit stop under 50 laps remaining and holding off Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman on the ensuing restart and through the final 42 laps to win the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. In addition to securing a championship spot for the finale, Logano secured his third victory of the season, his first win since Phoenix in March and his 26th NASCAR Cup Series career victory, which moved him into a tie for 31st place on the all-time Cup wins list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Fred Lorenzen.

The starting lineup was based on four stats: current owner’s standings, driver’s and owner’s results from a previous Cup race and the fastest lap recorded from a previous Cup race. With that, Chase Elliott, coming off his dominating win last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, started on pole position and was joined on the front row with Joey Logano.

Prior to the race, Martin Truex Jr. and James Davison dropped to the rear of the field due to their respective cars failing pre-race inspection twice. 

During the opening pace laps, Clint Bowyer got to temporarily lead the field behind the pace car and was saluted by a group of fans attending and watching the race from the grass around the track by carving out Bowyer’s No. 14 with Bowyer making his final start at his home track before retiring from full-time racing at season’s end and moving to the FOX Sports broadcast booth in 2021. Prior to the race’s start, Bowyer dropped back to his starting spot in 12th place.

When the green flag waved and the Round of 8 in the 2020 Cup Playoffs commenced on a cold afternoon, Elliott rocketed with the lead through the first two turns. Behind, however, Logano, Harvick and Kurt Busch started to battle intensely and early for the runner-up spot. Through Turns 3 and 4, Logano, Harvick and Kurt Busch went three-wide for second place while Elliott was able to pull away and lead the first lap.

Following the first five laps of the race, Elliott continued to lead by a narrow margin over Kurt Busch and a hard-charing Logano as the field behind continued to battle competitively for early positioning.

Through the first 10 laps of the race, Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE continued to lead followed by Logano and Harvick while Ryan Blaney and Hamlin were in the top five. Kurt Busch settled in sixth followed by Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, William Byron and Brad Keselowski. By then, Truex, who started at the rear of the field, moved up to 17th place in front of teammate Kyle Busch.

Five laps later, Elliott continued to lead by half a second over Harvick, who was being pursued by Logano. Meanwhile, Hamlin and Blaney battled for fourth place. By then, Truex, racing in his No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, was making his way towards the top 15 on the track.

By Lap 20, Elliott extended his advantage to more than two seconds over Harvick while Logano trailed by three seconds. Hamlin and Blaney were in the top five followed by Kurt Busch, Bowman, Keselowski, Reddick and Byron. By then, Clint Bowyer was in 12th in front of Jimmie Johnson and Truex. In addition, Austin Dillon was in 15th ahead of Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Busch while rookies John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer were in 19th through 21st. Bubba Wallace, meanwhile, was in 23rd behind Chris Buescher while Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman were in 25th and 28th. 

When the competition caution flew on Lap 25, Elliott maintained his early advantage by less than two seconds over Harvick. By then, seven of the remaining eight Playoff contenders were running inside the top 10 while Truex moved up to 12th place behind Erik Jones. Blaney, Reddick and Byron were the only non-title contenders who were scored in the top 10 on the track.

Under the competition caution, the leaders pitted and Byron emerged with the lead following a two-tire pit stop, Elliott exited in second following a four-tire pit stop, who was followed by Logano, Harvick and Hamlin. Following the pit stops, Kurt Busch was assessed a pit road speeding penalty as he dropped his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to the rear of the field.

When the race restarted on Lap 30, Harvick gave Elliott a shove on the outside lane, which allowed Elliott to move ahead of teammate Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet in Turn 2 before Harvick made a challenge himself for the lead in Turn 3 on the outside lane.

The following lap, Harvick emerged as the new leader, though Elliott continued to pounce on him for the lead. Soon after, Hamlin moved up along with Penske teammates Logano, Blaney and Keselowski while Byron fell back to seventh place. While Byron continued to lose positions following his two-tire pit stop, Reddick, Bowman and Bowyer moved up. 

By Lap 35, Truex moved into 15th place. By then, Jimmie Johnson was in 19th place while running in between DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher. At the front, Harvick stabilized his advantage by half a second over Elliott while Hamlin, Logano and Blaney were in the top five.

Through the first 40 laps of the race, Harvick extended his advantage by nearly a second over Elliott. Hamlin settled in third while teammates Blaney, Logano and Keselowski battled for fourth place. Reddick moved up to seventh followed by Bowman, Bowyer and Erik Jones. By then, Byron was back in 14th in front of Kyle Busch while Truex was in 13th.

When the race reached its 50-lap mark, Harvick, racing in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang, was still leading by more than a second over Elliott while Blaney moved up to third place. Keselowski and Hamlin battled for fourth place while Bowman was in sixth ahead of Logano. Reddick and Erik Jones were in eighth and ninth followed by Truex, who cracked the top 10. Bowyer fell back to 11th place in front of Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Almirola and Custer while Austin Dillon, Byron, Jimmie Johnson, DiBenedetto and Wallace were in the top 20. By then, Kurt Busch, who was penalized early for a speeding penalty, was back in 23rd behind teammate Kenseth, Newman was in 29th behind Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez was in 31st behind Corey LaJoie.

While Elliott continued to track down Harvick for the lead, teammates Keselowski and Blaney battled for third place, with the former succeeding. Meanwhile, Logano, who was battling towards the front with his teammates early, dropped back to ninth place behind Truex while dealing with handling issues to his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang. 

Through the first 60 laps, seven of the eight Playoff contenders led by Harvick were running in the top 10 while Blaney, Erik Jones and Reddick were the only non-title contenders running in the top 10. By then, Kurt Busch was the lowest-running Playoff contender in 22nd place behind DiBenedetto and Buescher. While Bowyer and Kyle Busch battled for 12th place, Byron dropped all the way back to 19th place after being overtaken by teammate Jimmie Johnson and Bubba Wallace.

On Lap 64, Elliott reassumed the lead after tracking down and overtaking Harvick through the long green flag run. Not long after, Keselowski started to close in on Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang for the runner-up spot. 

While the laps in the first stage continued to dwindle, Keselowski and Harvick continued to battle intensely for the runner-up spot while Elliott, who was battling with radio communication issues with his crew and spotter, continued to lead. During this time, Blaney trailed the top-three competitors by more than a second while Hamlin settled in fifth place, two seconds behind. 

With three laps remaining in the first stage and the leaders approaching lapped traffic, Keselowski overtook Harvick for second place and his No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang started to close in on Elliott’s Camaro for the lead. By then, Blaney and Hamlin moved into third and fourth followed by Erik Jones while Harvick fell back to sixth place. 

With the top-six competitors duking it out at the front despite the heavy lapped traffic, Elliott was able to hold off Keselowski to win the first stage on Lap 80 and claim his ninth stage victory of the season. Keselowski settled in second place while Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry edged Blaney’s No. 12 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang by a mere nose to settle in third place. Jones, Bowman, Harvick, Truex, Logano and Kyle Busch settled in the top 10. By then, Kurt Busch was in 19th place behind Custer, Bowyer was in 12th behind Reddick and Jimmie Johnson was in 16th behind Austin Dillon.

Under the stage break, the leaders pitted and Hamlin was able to beat Elliott off of pit road in first place following a four-tire pit stop. Blaney exited in third place followed by Jones, Keselowski and Harvick. By then, Elliott’s radio issues were resolved. In addition, Reddick made another pit stop to address a loose left-front wheel.

The second stage started on Lap 86 with Hamlin and Elliott on the front row ahead of Blaney and Jones. At the start, Blaney gave Hamlin a shove for the lead, but Elliott fought back on the inside lane. Behind, Kyle Busch, racing in his No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry and eliminated from title contention, made a three-wide move on Logano and Bowyer in an attempt for more positions while the field continued to battle in double lanes. 

By the time the field returned to the start/finish line, Elliott emerged ahead, but the following lap, Hamlin was able to emerge ahead and take the top spot back. Behind the leader Hamlin, Blaney and Elliott battled for second while Logano got loose in Turn 1 beneath Harvick’s No. 4 Ford while battling for more. 

At the front, Hamlin continued to lead by a narrow margin over Blaney and Elliott while Harvick and Keselowski battled for fourth. Kurt Busch, meanwhile, muscled his way into sixth place ahead of Logano while Jones and Bowman were in the top 10. Truex was back in 12th behind Bowyer and Bell. Byron was in 14th in between Custer and Austin Dillon while Kyle Busch was back in 17th behind Wallace. Newman, Johnson and Kenseth were in 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

By Lap 95, Hamlin was still ahead by a car length over Blaney. Elliott stabilized himself in third place while Kurt Busch, Harvick, Keselowski and Logano battled for fourth place. Not long after, Bowman, who was in eighth, started to join the party while Bell and Bowyer were in the top 10. 

When the race reached its Lap 100 mark and the leaders started to approach lapped traffic, Hamlin and Blaney continued to battle for the lead. Behind, Elliott and Harvick battled intensely for third place, with the latter prevailing a lap later. Keselowski was in fifth place in front of Kurt Busch while Bell, Logano, Bowman and Bowyer were in the top 10. Truex was in 12th behind Custer.  

Through Lap 110, Hamlin continued to lead by more than a half a second over Blaney, who earlier had a pass on Hamlin for the lead spoiled after encountering the lapped car of Quin Houff. Elliott was in third place ahead of Keselowski, Harvick and Kurt Busch. 

By Lap 120, Hamlin continued to hold steady for the lead, though he had Blaney settling behind him by two-tenths of a second. By then, the remaining eight Playoff contenders were running no lower than 11th place. 

Soon after, green flag pit stops started to occur as Erik Jones, who lost the balance of his No. 20 Reser’s Toyota Camry and had fallen near the top 20 on the track, pitted. In addition, Bowman pitted along with Harvick, teammate Aric Almirola, Logano, Byron, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Blaney, Elliott, Reddick and Johnson.

By Lap 130 and with most of the leaders having made a pit stop under green, Keselowski, one of a handful of competitors who had yet to pit under green, was leading. Kurt Busch was in second followed by Truex, Bowyer, Ryan Preece, DiBenedetto, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon.

A lap later, Keselowski pitted along with Bowyer and Preece while Kurt Busch took over the lead for the next two laps before he and Truex pitted. Back on the track, DiBenedetto emerged as the lead followed by McDowell, Newman, LaJoie and Ty Dillon while Hamlin and Blaney were in sixth and seventh. By then, the race reached its overall halfway point.

During the racing on the track, Harvick narrowly avoided wrecking into Ty Dillon, who was slowing on the track to make the turn to pit road under green and caused Harvick to move up the track and pass Dillon’s No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE without contact. 

With 20 laps remaining in the second stage, DiBenedetto continued to remain on the track and with the lead followed by McDowell, Newman and LaJoie while Hamlin was in fifth. Blaney, Elliott, Harvick, Keselowski and Bowman were in the top 10. 

Three laps later, the caution flew when Matt Kenseth wrecked entering Turn 4 when he moved up the track and across the front nose of Erik Jones as both wrecked across the outside wall and Kenseth emerged with significant body damage to his No. 42 AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. At the time of caution, the top-three competitors led by DiBenedetto, Newman and LaJoie were still on the track. The good news for all three of them was that they were able to pit along with most of the leaders, cycle back and gain a number of track positions with the front-runners. 

Under caution, most of the leaders led by DiBenedetto, Newman, LaJoie, Elliott, Harvick and Logano pitted while the rest led by Hamlin, Blaney, Keselowski, Bowman, Kurt Busch and Truex remained on the track. 

With 11 laps remaining in the second stage, the race restarted under green and Hamlin received a push from Keselowski to retain the lead on the outside lane over Blaney. Through the backstretch and back to the start/finish line, Hamlin was ahead of Blaney while Hendrick Motorsports’ teammates Bowman and Elliott battled for third place. Behind, Harvick was in fifth followed by Kurt Busch, Keselowski, Bowyer, DiBenedetto and Truex. 

With the laps in the second stage dwindling, Hamlin was still ahead by a narrow margin over Blaney while Bowman was in third. Not long after, Harvick moved into second place over Blaney and Bowman while Elliott slipped back to sixth behind Keselowski. Truex and Kurt Busch were in eighth and ninth while Logano was back in 14th behind Bell and Kyle Busch. 

Down to the final two laps of the second stage, Harvick was a car length behind Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota while Blaney, Bowman, Keselowski and Elliott battled for third place. 

Despite having a challenge from Harvick on the final lap and for a full circuit, Hamlin was able to persevere and hold on to claim the second stage on Lap 160 while also achieving his 10th stage victory of the season. Harvick settled in second followed by Blaney, Bowman and Elliott. Keselowski, DiBenedetto, Truex, Kurt Busch and Bowyer settled in the top 10. By then, Logano was still mired back in 14th in between Bell and Almirola. 

Under the stage break, nearly all of the leaders pitted and Logano exited in first place following a two-tire pit stop. Almirola exited in second place while also on two fresh tires followed by Hamlin, the first on four fresh tires. Bowman, Harvick and Elliott followed suit.  

Back on the track, Kyle Busch emerged with the lead after he elected to remain on the track under the stage break.

With 100 laps remaining, the final stage started under green and with Kyle Busch and Logano on the front row followed by Almirola, Bowman, Hamlin and Harvick. At the start, Logano emerged with the lead entering Turn 2 while a multitude of competitors battled and expanded into three and four lanes for positions. 

Two laps later, Harvick emerged with the lead after overtaking Logano while Bowman moved up to third place over Kyle Busch. With the battles around the track continuing to ensue, Kyle Busch moved back into third place in front of Keselowski and brother Kurt Busch, all of whom were behind Logano. 

Meanwhile, Bowman was in sixth ahead of Hamlin, Blaney, Truex and DiBenedetto while Elliott was mired back in 11th. Bowyer was in 14th behind Bell and Byron. 

With 90 laps remaining, Harvick was clear out front by less than two seconds over Logano, who had teammate Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Blaney, Kurt Busch and Hamlin challenging behind. 

Shortly after, troubles ensued for Hamlin, who bounced off with the outside wall in Turn 4 while moving in front of teammate Kyle Busch in a battle for a top-five spot. Following the contact, Hamlin began to fall off the pace and he made an unscheduled pit stop under green the following lap to have the damage and any concerns of a tire rub addressed. By the time he returned to the track, he lost a lap to the leaders. 

With 80 laps remaining, Harvick stabilized his advantage to more than three seconds over Keselowski while Penske teammates Logano and Blaney were in third and fourth. Kyle Busch, who was still holding strong on four old tires, was in fifth followed by Bowman, Kurt Busch, Truex, Bell and Bowyer. Elliott was in 11th ahead of Custer while Hamlin was in 28th place and a lap behind.

Ten laps later, with 70 laps remaining, Harvick extended his advantage to more than four seconds over Keselowski while Blaney, Kyle Busch and Bowman were in the top five. Logano, Truex, Bowyer, Elliott and Bell were in the top 10. While Hamlin was behind in 28th place and still trying to fight his way back on the lead lap, Kurt Busch was in 19th place after reporting an electrical issue to his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. 

Shortly after, a good day turned bad became sour for Kurt Busch, who lost his engine through Turns 1 and 2 as his No. 1 Chevrolet went up in a billow of smoke. The issue was terminal and  enough to end Busch’s day in the garage as his hopes for a second Cup title took an early hit in the Round of 8. 

“Having an engine failure in the Playoffs, it’s just like a huge parachute that slows you up,” Kurt Busch said on NBC. “We’ll pack that parachute up, throw it away and we’ll go to Texas to win. We knew we were gonna have to win either here or Texas. Martinsville, we got a shot at it too. The odds were stacked against us, but hey, we’re in the top eight for a reason. I got a great crew chief, Matt McCall. We’ll bounce back… It’s just one of those things. We have an engine failure and there’s nothing we can do about it.” 

At the time of caution, Erik Jones received the free pass to return on the lead lap while Hamlin remained a lap behind the leaders. Under caution, the leaders pitted for fresh tires and enough fuel to complete the race to its entire distance. Following the pit stops, Harvick retained the lead followed by Kyle Busch, Blaney, Logano and Keselowski. Prior to the restart, Hamlin took the wave around to return on the lead lap, though he is out of sequence with the leaders and needs another pit stop to complete the race to its distance.

The race restarted under green with 62 laps remaining. At the start, Harvick retained the lead on the outside lane while teammates Blaney, Logano and Keselowski moved up. Bowman also moved up into the top five as Kyle Busch slipped back to sixth. 

Four laps later, Harvick continued to lead by less than half a second over the Penske trio while Hendrick teammates Bowman and Byron were in fifth and sixth. Truex and DiBenedetto battled for seventh while Elliott and Austin Dillon were in the top 10. Kyle Busch, meanwhile, was back in 12th behind Bell. By then, Erik Jones, who had returned on the lead lap, pitted under green due to a tire rub.

With 50 laps remaining, Harvick extended his advantage to a second over Logano, who had teammates Keselowski and Blaney behind him. Bowman was in fifth while Elliott was able to work his way back up to sixth place. Truex, Byron, Bell and DiBenedetto were in the top 10 while Kyle Busch was in 11th. Hamlin, meanwhile, was in 24th place behind Roush Fenway Racing’s Buescher and Newman. 

Three laps later, the caution returned due to Reddick making contact into the outside wall in Turns 3 and 4, though he was able to pit without further incident. The caution allowed Hamlin, who was on the lead lap, to cycle back with the leaders and pit under caution at the same time with enough fuel to complete the race to its scheduled distance. Under caution, the leaders pitted and Logano was able to exit pit road in first place ahead of Harvick. Bowman, Blaney and Kyle Busch exited in the top five.

With 42 laps remaining, the race restarted under green as Logano and Harvick battled for the lead. Through Turn 2, however, Logano was able to retain the lead as Blaney battled Harvick for second place. Behind, Jimmie Johnson made contact with the wall following contact with Ryan Preece and he made an unscheduled pit stop, though the race remained under green. 

At the front, Logano continued to lead followed by Harvick and Blaney while Bowman and Keselowski were in the top five. Behind, Elliott battled teammate Byron for sixth while Kyle Busch, Bell and Truex were in the top 10. 

With less than 35 laps remaining, Logano continued to lead, but he had Harvick trailing by approximately a tenth of a second. Five laps later, with 30 laps remaining, Logano was still out in front by half a second over Harvick and Keselowski, both of whom started to battle for the runner-up spot. Meanwhile, Bowman and Blaney battled for fourth place while Elliott overtook Kyle Busch for sixth place. By then, Truex was in ninth while Hamlin was in 17th. 

Down to the final 25 laps of the race and the leaders approaching lapped traffic, Logano remained out in front of the field by two-tenths of a second, though he had Harvick remaining well behind him and continuing to pounce for the lead. Keselowski stabilized himself in third place followed by teammates Bowman and Elliott. Kyle Busch was in sixth followed by Blaney, Byron, Truex and DiBenedetto. By then, Hamlin was in 16th place behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

Five laps later, with 20 laps remaining, the top-five competitors led by Logano were separated by a second. By then, Logano continued to drive defensively with the lead over Harvick while Keselowski, Bowman and Elliott started to close in. 

With 15 laps remaining, Logano and Harvick were able to pull away by third-place Keselowski by more than a second. A lap later, Bowman overtook Keselowski for third place while Elliott continued to run in the top five. By then, Truex was in ninth behind Byron while Hamlin only moved up to 15th place behind Custer. 

Down to the final 10 laps of the race, Logano started to pull away as he extended his advantage to less than half a second over Harvick and with Bowman trailing by less than two seconds. Keselowski continued to run in fourth place, trailing by more than two seconds, while Elliott settled in fifth place, trailing by more than three seconds.

A lap later, Harvick started to close in on Logano in an effort to pounce for the lead yet again. With the top-two competitors duking it out and the laps dwindling, Bowman and his No. 88 ChevyGoods.com/Truck Hero Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE started to close in by six car lengths. 

With five laps remaining, the top-three competitors were separated by less than a second, with Logano leading by a narrow margin and Bowman starting to close in on Harvick for the runner-up spot. By then, Kyle Busch and Blaney were battling for sixth place behind Keselowski and Elliott. 

With three laps remaining, the top-three competitors were separated by half a second, with Harvick continuing to pounce on Logano for the lead and Bowman joining the party amid lapped traffic. 

On the final lap, Logano was still leading by a narrow margin over Harvick and Bowman. Through Turns 1 and 2, Logano continued to lead while Harvick struggled to close in on Logano’s rear bumper. In Turn 3 and despite encountering two lapped cars, Logano was able to defend his spot over Harvick to cross the finish line in first place and grab his spot in the championship round with a victory at Kansas.

With his third victory at Kansas, this marks the fourth time since 2014 where Logano was able to race his way into the Championship 4 round for the Cup Series finale as he will pursue his second Cup title, first since 2018.

“You’ve got to want it, man,” Logano said in front of a limited number of fans attending the race on NBC. “What an amazing team this Shell/Pennzoil team is. Oh my goodness. I’m wore out. I spent more time in the mirror than the windshield there. Pit stops put us in position, got us the lead. [Harvick]’s fast. He was real fast, especially down the straightaways. I thought if I could hold him off the first 15 laps, I have a chance and actually, dirty air was the best for us. As we caught lapped traffic, I was able to gap ourselves as he got more dirty air…Man, I’m exhausted after that. We’re going to Phoenix! We’re racing for a championship again! Heck yeah.”

“You come into this race knowing if you can win this thing, you got an amazing advantage,” Logano added, “The same thing happened to us in 2018 when we raced for the win at Martinsville, knowing that we have two races just to battle for nothing but the championship. I can’t believe it, especially with the way the beginning of the race was going. We were back there, not scoring stage points, running around 10th. Good strategy by [crew chief] Paul [Wolfe], great pit stops and this Shell/Pennzoil Mustang’s racing for a championship at Phoenix.”

Harvick settled in second place for his third runner-up finish of the season and after leading a race-high 85 laps compared to Logano’s 47 while Bowman recorded a strong third-place result for his fifth top-five result of the season.

“We just needed to get off of pit road first,” Harvick said on NBC. “It came down to controlling that restart. We lost the lead on the restart and wound up trying to battle. Didn’t get to lead on the restart, but just a really, really fast Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang. All our guys did a great job. We had a fast car and just moved all over the race track. We weren’t the best behind somebody, but I had a lot of options as they made the car better towards the end of the race. Good run for us. Wished we could’ve won, but one [spot] short…Joey’s a good blocker.” 

“It seemed like we needed a really long run there at the end,” Bowman said on NBC. “We were pretty free all day and we snugged up, got our TruckHero Camaro driving a little better. Just really didn’t have much right-rear grip. There at the end, just running around, wide open, they finally came back to us enough, but then, I just couldn’t do anything once I got there. I burnt the tires off of it to try to get there in the first place. It’s a bummer. I messed up coming to two [laps] to go and cost us any chance that we had. It’s still a really good day for us. Thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, back at the shop, all the road guys, everybody’s working so hard…We’re building great Camaros. Just a little bit short today.”

Keselowski, who ran at the front throughout the race, finished in fourth place while trailing the top-three competitors by three seconds as Kyle Busch made his way to finish in fifth place.

“[Today] was really solid,” Keselowski said on NBC. “Here and Texas were two tracks we were a little nervous about. [I was] Really fast all day. Just didn’t have quite enough there at the end. I felt like if we would’ve had the lead, we could’ve won, but just wasn’t in the cards.”

Chase Elliott rallied from his radio issues to lead 48 laps and finish in sixth place while Blaney, Byron, Truex and Bell rounded out the top 10.

“[The radio issues] wasn’t a massive deal,” Elliott said on NBC. “The good news was [the crew] could hear me. I just couldn’t hear them once we went green. Once I understood the situation that they could hear me and I just couldn’t hear them, that helped, obviously. From there, [I] just kind of knew what to expect, just trying to pay attention to the lap count and when everybody else was gonna start pitting or not. I don’t think, ultimately, it hindered our performance at all. We had a pretty fast NAPA Camaro. I felt like we fired off well and lost a little track position in that middle stage. It’s tough to get a big chunk of it back in a hurry… I got two more weeks and we’ll try to go get’em at Texas.”

“That’s about all we had,” Truex said on NBC. “We were eighth in both stages and ninth at the end. We didn’t really have much more than that. If we could’ve gotten some track position at times, on the really long runs, we were really strong. On restarts, it was really tough to fend people off and we just didn’t quite have the short-run speed. Just didn’t have what we hoped to have, but proud of everybody on this No. 19 team. We’ll do what we do. We’ll keep fighting. Today’s over. It wasn’t a terrible day by any means, but not what we needed to get to the final four. We’ll try to pick it up for Texas next week. Martinsville should be good too…I know we can do it. It’s just a matter of hitting it right. Ninth is unacceptable for us.”

Hamlin, who was unable to mount a late rally back to the front following his late contact with the outside wall despite leading 58 laps, finished in 15th place behind Custer, though he remains above the top-four cutline.

“[The contact] damaged the car,” Hamlin said on NBC. “On these tracks, you can’t have any damage on the car, but I was actually kind of fortunate to get a couple of cautions there to get back on the lead lap. That’s as far as I could go with the damage that I had. It hurt the car so bad, so top 15 with that damage, that’s the best we could probably hope for, but still, I definitely had a race-winning car today. Just drove it into the fence…We can win every week. Every week, we’re up front. I think we can win next week, we can win the week after that and we can win the week after that. [I’m] Not too worried about having to go out there and win because I know we can do it.”

Clint Bowyer, who made late contact with the wall, finished 26th in his 25th and final Cup run at Kansas Speedway, his home track. Jimmie Johnson finished 31st in his 29th and final run at Kansas.

There were 17 lead changes for 11 different leaders. The race featured six cautions for 31 laps.


1. Joey Logano, 47 laps led

2. Kevin Harvick, 85 laps led

3. Alex Bowman

4. Brad Keselowski, six laps led

5. Kyle Busch, four laps led

6. Chase Elliott, 48 laps led, Stage 1 winner

7. Ryan Blaney

8. William Byron, three laps led

9. Martin Truex Jr. 

10. Christopher Bell

11. Austin Dillon

12. Matt DiBenedetto, 12 laps led

13. Aric Almirola

14. Cole Custer

15. Denny Hamlin, 58 laps led, Stage 2 winner

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

17. John Hunter Nemechek

18. Bubba Wallace 

19. Michael McDowell

20. Erik Jones

21. Chris Buescher

22. Ryan Newman, one lap led

23. Corey LaJoie, one lap led

24. Ty Dillon, one lap down

25. Tyler Reddick, one lap down

26. Clint Bowyer, one lap down

27. Daniel Suarez, two laps down

28. Brennan Poole, four laps down

29. Ryan Preece, five laps down

30. J.J. Yeley, six laps down

31. Jimmie Johnson, six laps down

32. James Davison, nine laps down

33. Quin Houff, nine laps down

34. Timmy Hill, 11 laps down

35. Josh Bilicki, 13 laps down

36. Reed Sorenson, 17 laps down

37. Joey Gase, 39 laps down

38. Kurt Busch – OUT, Engine, two laps led

39. Chad Finchum – OUT, Transmission

40. Matt Kenseth – OUT, Accident

Bold indicates Playoff contenders.

Playoff standings.

1. Joey Logano – Advanced

2. Kevin Harvick +41

3. Denny Hamlin +20

4. Brad Keselowski +8

5. Chase Elliott -8

6. Alex Bowman -27

7. Martin Truex Jr. -31

8. Alex Bowman -73

The Round of 8 in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will continue next Sunday, October 25, at Texas Motor Speedway for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. The race will occur at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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