Kansas City, KS – After two attempts in overtime, Denny Hamlin held on to win at Kansas Speedway for his fifth victory this season. It’s his second victory at Kansas and his first since 2012.
Hamlin took the lead on Lap 227 and never looked back to score the victory in the conclusion of the Round of 12.
“Everything is good,” Hamlin said about the win. “The cars are fast, we’re executing well. I feel like I’m giving the right information to the crew chief to let him make adjustments if he needs to make it faster. I thought practice was a telling sign for us. Every time we came into the pits to work on it, when it came out, it was better. We did a really good job of making our car better throughout the weekend. We didn’t qualify all that well, being 23rd or so. I knew we were going to have a car that was going to go to the front and that’s what we had.”
Prior to the Hollywood Casino 400, Daniel Hemric qualified on the front row for his first career pole in his career. Kevin Harvick didn’t get to put a qualifying lap down due to failing inspection and as a result, the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing driver started last. Stages were 80/80/107 laps to make up the 267-lap race.
Stage 1: Lap 1- Lap 80
There were barely any incidents during the first stage. However, there were many lead changes. Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano all swapped the lead between each other. The yellow flew late in Stage 1 on Lap 76 for debris in Turn 4 after contact was made between Roush Fenway Racing teammates Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Newman. Newman got the worse of the damage and wound up in last place.
A late-stage restart came on Lap 78. Logano won the stage after Larson’s crew had trouble during the caution prior to the restart. Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Hamlin, Erik Jones and Stenhouse were the top-10 finishers.
During the stage break, Kyle Busch’s team had to fix the right side quarter panel of his car after damage from the restart. Alex Bowman was also on pit road to fix his damage.
Stage 2: Lap 86- Lap 160
Just a few laps after the start of Stage 2, Larson made contact with the No. 66 of Joey Gase which sent him spinning toward the inside grass. This brought the caution out on Lap 113. The leaders came down pit road to make a pit stop under the caution. During that round of pit stops, playoff drivers Kyle Busch and Larson were penalized. Larson was penalized for an uncontrolled tire and Busch for too many crew members over the wall.
From there, Hamlin took the lead on Lap 124 and went on to win the second stage. Blaney, Truex, Byron, Elliott, Harvick, Logano, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer and Busch completed the top-10 finishers for Stage 2.
Stage 3: Lap 166- Lap 277
There was a long green-flag during the final stage. Hamlin had the dominant car, taking the lead on Lap 126 and leading for 93 laps. After green-flag pit stops, a caution came on Lap 265, just two laps before the race ended.
The No. 43 of Bubba Wallace’s tire hub broke off coming out of Turn 2 forcing the race to go into overtime. The No. 36 of Matt Tifft was also involved.
After the caution, the field was bunched up to do it all over again and hope to complete the race in two laps. However, right before Hamlin took the white flag, an accident on the front stretch occurred. Keselowski and Suarez made contact with each other off Turn 4. Hemric, Logano and Austin Dillon were also involved.
Despite the two overtime restarts, Hamlin held off a hard charging Chase Elliott for the win.
“It just depends,” Hamlin said in regard to winning his first championship. “We believe a successful year is making it to Homestead. Anything can happen in one race. I don’t think you should necessarily deem your season off one race. I think this year as a whole, we consider this a successful season, even if something were to happen in the next round. We certainly wouldn’t be pleased about it but everyone tries to do the best of their job and let the chips fall where they may. We’re not going to let one race dictate whether this year is a success or not.”
Hamlin finished eighth in Stage 1, won Stage 2 and led three times for 153 laps to earn six playoff points.
The Hollywood Casino 400 was a cut off race and Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney all advanced to the Round of 8 that begins next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
- Denny Hamlin, won Stage 2, led 153 laps
- Chase Elliott, led four laps
- Kyle Busch
- Kurt Busch
- William Byron, led one lap
- Martin Truex Jr., led 33 laps
- Erik Jones
- Clint Bowyer
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Alex Bowman, led seven laps
- Ryan Preece
- Chris Buescher
- Kyle Larson, led 60 laps
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Joey Logano, won Stage 1, led four laps
- Paul Menard
- Brad Keselowski, led two laps
- Austin Dillon
- Ryan Blaney, led two laps
- Ty Dillon, one lap down
- Aric Almirola, three laps down
- Michael McDowell, three laps down
- Matt Tifft, four laps down
- David Ragan, four laps down
- Ross Chastain, five laps down
- Corey LaJoie, five laps down
- Parker Kligerman, six laps down
- J.J. Yeley, six laps down
- Daniel Hemric, OUT, Crash
- Daniel Suarez, OUT, Crash
- Reed Sorenson, nine laps down
- Garrett Smithley, 10 laps down
- Bubba Wallace, OUT, Crash
- Josh Bilicki, 15 laps down
- Landon Cassill, OUT, Vibration
- Joey Gase, OUT, Crash
- Timmy Hill, OUT, Too Slow
- Ryan Newman, OUT, Crash
Up Next: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers take to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 27 to begin the Round of 8.