Chase Elliott wheels into Victory Lane at Kansas as the Round of 12 Concludes

by Bryan Rivero On Sun, Oct. 21, 2018

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 21: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 21, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Simon Scoggins, Speedwaymedia.com)

Chase Elliott won the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Elliott is really starting to heat up heading into the Round of 8 next week after scoring his second victory in the Round of 12 and his third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win this season.

He spoke about the team’s strategy as they continue in the Playoffs and the emphasis on winning races.

“The points game is nice I guess to play. Really you just need to care about winning,” Elliott said. “If you’re trying to win, putting yourself in position to win, that’s way more important than just barely trying to squeak through. Having the ability to win, do it weekly, putting yourselves in those positions week by week is the most important thing. If we can do that these next three weeks, I think we can give ourselves a chance.”

Joey Logano started the race on the pole and led the field to the green flag quickly maintaining the lead. It only lasted one lap for clean racing. Daniel Suarez brushed the wall on the second lap and made slight contact with Alex Bowman. Suarez then pitted.

Stage 1 was an adventure for Kyle Larson. Larson started the race at the tail of the field because he had to go to a backup car after wrecking his primary on Friday during practice. By Lap 15 he was already in the 20th position. Larson needed a win to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Alex Bowman was in the same position as Larson. He also needed a win to advance. He hit the wall on Lap 24 while he was trying to run the high line. Nothing major happened to his car and he continued running.

By Lap 45 all of the Playoff drivers had pit once under green. No serious changes to the leaderboard happened during the pit stops.

The first caution of the race came out on Lap 56 when William Byron had an engine failure in his vehicle. It was a long cleanup since he dropped a lot of oil on the track and on some pit boxes.

When the lead lap cars went in to pit under caution there were three drivers that elected to just take two tires. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did not pit and led the field to the green on Lap 64 for the restart. His lead did not last too long as he fell back quickly with Ryan Blaney taking the lead.

There was a great battle between teammates Logano and Blaney toward the end of the stage as both were going hard for the lead. Kevin Harvick got into the picture while the teammates kept swapping positions. Logano was able to hold off Harvick and Blaney to win Stage 1. With Harvick finishing second, it clinched his spot in the Round of 8.

No major changes happened during the pit stops. All the leaders went in as expected and Logano led the field for the start of Stage 2. Blaney was able to take the second position away from Harvick on the restart. Harvick was able to come back and take the spot back on Lap 96.

Larson became a contender in the race during Stage 2. He found himself in the sixth position behind Kyle Busch by Lap 101.

Kurt Busch had a rough day. The speed in his car was not where he wanted it to be as he started to fall off in Stage 2. The battle between Harvick and Blaney seemed like it was happening all day. Blaney was able to take the second spot back from Harvick on Lap 115.

Green flag pit stops in Stage 2 started on Lap 119 with Martin Trux Jr. being the first car to pit. Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch were hit with penalties for uncontrolled tires as Busch’s bad day continued to get worse.

Brad Keselowski tried staying out on the track many laps after everyone had gone in to pit, hoping to catch a caution. That did not work and he finally had to pit on Lap 140. Harvick took over the lead and went on to win Stage 2.

There was a good battle in the pits during the caution. Larson gained three positions during his time on pit road. Denny Hamlin was penalized for speeding on pit road. Kyle Busch and Logano clinched their spots in the Round of 8 after Stage 2.

Harvick and Elliott led the field on the restart to start the final stage. Kurt Busch continued down a lap but kept creeping in and out of the playoff picture the whole afternoon.

Elliott made some nice gains after being able to catch Blaney and taking away the second position from him. Larson was also able to come in and challenge Blaney for the third position.

On lap 208 Kyle Busch was able to pass Larson and Blaney at the same time moment that Blaney scrapped the wall. Blaney eventually dropped to fifth and his minor issues put him outside the cutoff line for the next round late in the race.

“Obviously it was a mistake I made trying to work hard to catch those guys and I pushed too hard and got in the fence. It is all my fault. Whether it would have worked out for us or not, I don’t know,” Blaney said.

Kyle Larson was the first car to go in for green flag pit stops.

A big change in the race happened after leader Harvick was penalized for speeding during his pit stop. This positioned Chase Elliott to take the lead when the field cycled out after the pits.

“Today wasn’t great from my standpoint. Our Busch Lite Ford was really fast and leading the race there and I got a speeding penalty. That was my fault. I tried to get a little too much and wound up going too fast. We will take it one week at a time,” Harvick said after the race.

Kyle Busch started to show late speed with under 30 laps to go. He was cutting down on Elliott’s lead. With 15 laps to go there were signs that Busch was getting close to Elliott but he had a hard time at the end. This gave Larson some life as he approached Busch. None were able to get passed Elliott as a result.

Kyle Busch had to settle with second place with Larson finishing third. Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Blaney, Keselowski, Larson, and Bowman were eliminated from the Playoffs as we head to the Round of 8 next week at Martinsville.

“We won three races and did all that. I feel like we can go win Martinsville next week so I am excited about that but of course, the ultimate goal is to win a championship and we won’t have an opportunity to do that this year.” Keselowski said.

The drivers advancing to the Round of 8:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Kurt Busch
6. Joey Logano
7. Chase Elliott
8. Aric Almirola

Monster Energy Cup Series Race
Unofficial Race Results for the 18th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 – Sunday, October 21, 2018
Kansas Speedway – Kansas City, KS – 1.5 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 267 Laps – 400.5 Miles

Pos St Car Driver Team Make
1 13 9 Chase Elliott (P) Mountain Dew Chevrolet
2 7 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M’s Halloween Toyota
3 27 42 Kyle Larson (P) McDonald’s Trick. Treat. Win! Chevrolet
4 6 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota
5 12 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota
6 5 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Discount Tire Ford
7 4 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford
8 1 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford
9 10 88 Alex Bowman (P) Nationwide Chevrolet
10 3 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford
11 23 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet
12 2 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Light Ford
13 14 14 Clint Bowyer (P) Dekalb Ford
14 9 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
15 16 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet
16 21 37 Chris Buescher Bush’s Chili Beans Chevrolet
17 20 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Trick. Treat. Win! Chevrolet
18 11 41 Kurt Busch (P) Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford
19 28 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford
20 15 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford
21 25 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet
22 22 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet
23 31 32 Matt DiBenedetto Plan B Sales Ford
24 8 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota
25 30 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet
26 29 43 Bubba Wallace # Transportation Impact Chevrolet
27 24 34 Michael McDowell Coburn Supply Company Ford
28 26 95 Regan Smith Tommy Williams Drywall Chevrolet
29 35 00 Landon Cassill(i) Share Foundation Chevrolet
30 19 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford
31 36 23 JJ Yeley(i) BK Racing Toyota
32 18 21 Paul Menard Menards/NIBCO Ford
33 38 51 BJ McLeod(i) Jacob Companies Chevrolet
34 34 72 Corey LaJoie Dragonchain Chevrolet
35 37 99 * Kyle Weatherman StarCom Fiber Chevrolet
36 39 7 * Reed Sorenson Harrah’s North Kansas City Chevrolet
37 33 96 * Jeffrey Earnhardt Xtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota
38 17 24 William Byron # Unifirst Chevrolet
39 32 15 Ross Chastain(i) Durkin Tactical Chevrolet
40 40 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Ternio Toyota

 

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