Last week the Monster Energy Cup Series drivers ran the high banks of the circuit’s longest track – Talladega. This week they travel to the land of barbecue, steaks, Toto, Dorothy, and Oz – Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400.
This weekend also marks the end of round two in the playoffs where the 12 playoffs drivers become eight.
During practice Kyle Larson wrecks his primary car and had to move to the backup car. No matter where he qualifies, he will have to start the race from the back of the field. Larson is also in a deep hole in the playoff standings; 36 points down, he faces elimination unless he can win the race. Alex Bowman is also in a must win situation.
After three rounds of qualifying Joey Logano wins the pole and will bring the field to the green flag.
The starting lineup for the Hollywood Casino 400:
Joey Logano – in the playoffs
Kevin Harvick – in the playoffs
Aric Almirola – in the playoffs
Ryan Blaney – in the playoffs
Brad Keselowski – in the playoffs
Kyle Busch – in the playoffs
Alex Bowman – in the playoffs
Kurt Busch – in the playoffs
Martin Truex Jr – in the playoffs
Chase Elliott – in the playoffs
Clint Bowyer – in the playoffs
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Jamie McMuray – moved to the back of the field for an engine change
Kyle Larson – in the playoffs – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Timmy Hill -engine change
Stages one and two of the race are 80 laps each with stage three lasting 107 laps for a total of 267 laps around the mile and a half track. The drivers cannot complete any of the stages without making at least one pit stop.
Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and jumps out in front for the lead.
Joey Logano leads lap one.
On lap two, Daniel Suarez hits the wall and is slowing on the track but he gets down to pit road and the track stays green. The incident took place in front of Alex Bowman and caused some damage to Bowman’s car.
Lap six Joey Logano has a half second lead on Ryan Blaney with Kevin Harvick in third over a second back; Aric Almirola and Bad Keselowski round out the top five.
Lap eight, Daniel Suarez makes another trip down pit road after hitting the wall on lap two
Joey Logano has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney; Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.
Lap 12, Ryan Blaney has closed the gap on leader Joey Logano to under a second.
Lap 15, after starting at the back of the field, Kyle Larson has moved up to 20th place in a backup car.
Lap 20, Joey Logano continues to lead the race with Ryan Blaney in second over a second back; Kevin Harvick is in third over three seconds back.
Lap 24, Alex Bowman brushes the wall but the track stays green.
Lap 25, Joey Logano continues to lead the race with a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney. There are 29 cars on the lead lap with Timmy Hill off the track.
Lap 29, Kyle Larson has moved up to 15th place.
Regan Smith had to make an unscheduled pit stop and had to serve a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during the pit stop.
Lap 25,the top five are Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, and Brad Keselowski.
Lap 37, Kyle Larson is in 14th. Joey Logano holds a lead of over a second on Ryan Blaney.
Martin Truex Jr leads the way for green flag pit stops.
Lap 40, Ross Chastain hits the wall on his way to pit road and has taken his car to the garage. The track stayed green.
Lap 43, AJ Allmendinger leads the race as green flag pit stops cycle through.
The top five hare Bubba Wallace, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, and Michael McDowell.
Lap 51, Joey Logano gets around Bubba Wallace to retake the lead of the race.
Lap 55 Joey Logano has a lead of over a second and a half on Ryan Blaney with Kevin Harvick over four seconds back.
The caution flag comes out on lap 56 for William Byron’s smoking car. He appears to have blown an engine and takes his car to the garage.
William Byron left a lot of fluid on the track that will require a lot of clean up time.
During his pit stop, Bubba Wallace, stopped too close to the wall and brushed it with the rear of his car upon leaving his pit stall.
Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road, followed by Aric Almirola and Brad Keselowski; Joey Logano came out fourth. Ricky Stenhouse Jr did not make a pit stop and is in the lead. Blaney, Almirola, and Keselowski took only two tires.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 64 but fails to get his car moving and falls through the field. Ryan Blaney takes the lead.
NASCAR deemed the restart a good one.
Ryan Blaney is in the lead with Joey Logano in second and Aric Almirola in third; Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch round out the top five.
Lap 67, Kevin Harvick passes Aric Almirola to take third place.
Lap 70, Joey Logano challenges team mate Ryan Blaney for the lead and on lap 72,Logano finally gets around Ryan Blaney for the lead.
Lap 74, the top five are Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 73, Kevin Harvick is closing in on Ryan Blaney to challenge for second place.
Lap 77, Kevin Harvick gets around Ryan Blaney to take over second place.
Joey Logano wins stage one.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
With his second place finish, Kevin Harvick has earned enough points to guarantee a spot in the next round of the playoffs.
Joey Logano wins the race off of pit road.
Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 87 and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead as Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney battle side by side for second place.
Lap 90, the top five are Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 94, Joey Logano has a lead of over a second and a half over Ryan Blaney with Kevin Harvick in third.
Kevin Harvick is on Ryan Blaney’s bumper trying to take over the second place spot. On lap 97 Kevin Harvick finally gets around Ryan Blaney and aims for lead Joey Logano over a second and a half ahead.
Lap 100, there are 28 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 101, Kevin Harvick has closed the gap on leader Joey Logano to just a second.
Lap 108, Kevin Harvick is less than half a second behind leader Joey Logano.
Lap 112, the top five are Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 113, Joey Logano has increased his lead on Kevin Harvick to over half a second with Ryan Blaney nearly a second and a half back.
Lap 117, Joey Logano continues to dominate the race with Ryan Blaney again in second place and Kevin Harvick in third.
Lap 119, Martin Truex Jr again lead the way to green flag pit stops.
Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch were charged with uncontrolled tires on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.
With Joey Logano coming down pit road, Ryan Blaney takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 125, Brad Keselowski takes over the lead of the race when Ryan Blaney comes down pit road.
Paul Menard has a pit road incident that causes some damage to his car.
On old tires, Brad Keselowski is the leader of the race.
Lap 136, on fresh tires, Kevin Harvick is moving through the field as he passes drivers on old tires and has moved into second place behind Brad Keselowski who has yet to make his pit stop.
Lap 138, Brad Keselowski finally makes his pit stop and gives the lead of the race over to Kevin Harvick with Ryan Blaney in second and Joey Logano in third with only nine cars on the lead lap.
The top five are Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 145, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over a second and a half over Ryan Blaney with Joey Logano over two seconds back with 17 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 151, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead over Ryan Blaney to over a second and a half with Joey Logano in third.
Lap 154, nearing the end of stage two, some of the drivers are reporting debris on the track but NASCAR keeps the field green.
There are only 17 cars on the lead lap.
Three laps to go in stage two, Ryan Blaney has cut into Kevin Harvick’s lead and is now less than a second back.
Kevin Harvick wins stage two.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road with Chase Elliott in second and Kyle Larson in third.
Joey Logano had a slow pit stop when the air gun hose got stuck on the car.
Denny Hamlin was caught speeding on pit road.
Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 167 with Kevin Harvick getting out in front for the lead.
With the points they have earned in stage two, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano have clinched a spot in the next round of the playoffs. With only eight spots in the next round, Aric Almirola and Chase Elliott guaranteed their spots with race wins; while Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano have gotten in on points and leaving only three spots open for seven drivers.
Lap 171, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over half a second on Ryan Blaney with Chase Elliott in third.
There are 21 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 177, Kevin Harvick continues to lead the race by nearly a second over Ryan Blaney; Chase Elliott is in third a second and a half back.
Not sure how it happened, Clint Bowyer has a small hole in the left front of his car.
The top five are Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 190, Chase Elliott challenges Ryan Blaney for second and gets around him to take the second spot with Kevin Harvick over a half a second in front.
Lap 200 Kevin Harvick continues to lead the race with Chase Elliott in second over a half a second back with 18 cars on the lead lap. Ryan Blaney is in third over two seconds back.
Lap 203, Ryan Blaney scraps against the wall but he holds on to his third place spot and the track stays green.
Lap 211, the top five are Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney.
Kyle Larson brings his car down pit road to start a cycle of green flag pit stops.
As green flag stops cycle through, Brad Keselowski is the leader of the race.
Lap 215, Kevin Harvick was caught speeding on pit road.
In a battle of the Kyle’s – Larson and Busch – Kyle Larson is currently ahead.
Brad Keselowski brings his car down pit road on lap 223 and gives the lead over to Chase Elliott.
The top five are Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney.
Lap 237, now that he has the lead, Chase Elliott is running away with it and has a lead of over two seconds on Kyle Busch.
Rim riding, Kyle Larson has brushed the wall but the track stays green.
With 36 laps remaining in the race, Doin’ the Dew this week, Chase Elliott has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on the M&Ms car of Kyle Busch.
Lap 246, Jimmie Johnson hits the wall and has to bring his car down pit road for repairs. The track stays green.
With 19 laps remaining in the race, there are only 14 cars on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch has cut into Chase Elliott’s lead in half form three seconds to just one and a half; Kyle Larson is nearly three seconds back.
Lap 253, Kyle Busch continues to cut into Chase Elliott’s lead and is now less than one second behind Chase Elliott.
Ten to go, Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with Kyle Busch just over half a second behind; Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Erik Jones round out the top five.
Lap 258, is on leader Chase Elliott’s bumper and is challenging Elliott for the lead.
Five to go, Chase Elliott holds on to his lead with Kyle Busch half a second behind as Kyle Larson runs some of the fastest laps on the track to close within a a second of leader Chase Elliott.
Chase Elliott takes the white flag.
Chase Elliott wins the Hollywood Casino 400 for his second win in this round of the playoffs for his third career win. For the second time in three weeks, the folks in Dawsonville will get to ring the siren.
The unofficial results of the Hollywood Casino 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and Alex Bowman have been eliminated from the playoffs and will not advance to the round of eight.