Chase Elliott Outruns Kyle Busch And Kyle Larson To Win Kansas NASCAR Playoff Raceby Hunter Thomas October 21, 2018 0 comments
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – For the second time in three race weekends, Chase Elliott is celebrating a NASCAR Playoff victory. This time, the 22-year-old held off a hard charging Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson in the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
As the laps ticked away in Kansas, Elliott had to clock nearly perfect lap times to stay ahead of Busch and Larson. The three drivers mimicked each other’s moves as they maneuvered around lapped traffic. Elliott held on to win his third-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
“I got really tight that last run and especially the second half of the run he (Kyle Busch) was catching me and he was making a lot of time right against the wall and I was just afraid to get up there and put it in the fence and really ruin it,” said Elliott, driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet. “I felt comfortable running down just slightly. I could move up a little bit to make some time when I had to, I just really didn’t want to do it if I didn’t absolutely have to. Yeah, just proud of the effort.”
The victory comes just two weekends after Elliott took the checkered flag at Dover International Speedway.
“Well, I feel like we are amongst those guys that you have to beat and I think that is all you can ask for,” Elliott said. “We are getting better. I think we still have room to improve, but the last month or two has been way closer to where we need to be.”
Kyle Bush finished second for the fifth time this season on Sunday. The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota ran up front all day and just had a solid effort to make sure that he advanced to the Round of 8. Following Sunday’s runner-up performance, Busch believed that the solid run was important, considering that 1.5-mile tracks, Texas and Homestead are coming up on the schedule.
“This is a mile‑and‑a‑half racetrack, which is Texas and Homestead,” Busch said. “It’s important to be good at these places, especially here I feel like because it’s getting more similar to Homestead, closer and closer to there. Of course, also with just Texas being a fast mile‑and‑a‑half, there’s some tendencies that are similar.
“Good day. We had a great race there at the end. We were trying to chase down Chase. We were close. Got kind of there, then just the car died out, didn’t have any more to go. I was afraid that was going to happen. Good day for us.
Kyle Larson finished third in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 McDonald’s Trick. Treat. Win! Chevrolet, but the effort wasn’t good enough for him to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs. Larson needed a win on Sunday to advance. Larson finished 12th at Dover, 11th at Talladega and then third on Sunday, but he only had one stage point throughout the Round of 12.
“For the teams that start the Playoffs with not many Playoff points, you’re already at a pretty big deficit to those guys,” Larson said. “You know you have to be perfect. Stage points are so important. That’s just kind of where us as a team weren’t able to get really any stage points. We didn’t have any stage points until today. Only one stage out of the six stages. Can’t really expect to make it to the next round without being up front all race long. So that’s kind of where our round went wrong.”
Erik Jones finished fourth, followed by NASCAR Playoff contender, Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR Playoff contenders, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10.
Of the eight leaders on Sunday, Joey Logano led a race high of 100 laps. There were 11 lead changes around the 1.5-mile track.
Aside from the endings to Stages 1 and 2, there was only one caution throughout the afternoon, and it came out on lap 58, when William Byron’s car dropped fluid onto the track.
Following the checkered flag, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski joined Kyle Larson below the Round of 8 cutline and were eliminated from this year’s NASCAR Playoffs. Denny Hamlin was also eliminated as well.
Drivers advancing to the Round of 8 include Kyle Busch (+40), Kevin Harvick (+39), Martin Truex Jr. (+23), Chase Elliott (+3), Clint Bowyer (-3), Joey Logano (-3), Kurt Busch (-3) and Aric Almirola (-12).
The Round of 8 of the NASCAR Playoffs will kickoff on Sunday, October 28 as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Martinsville Speedway for the First Data 500. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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