Monday, October 21, 2019


Denny Hamlin drove his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry to victory lane for the fifth time this season adding momentum to his championship hunt by capturing a victory in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The Chesterfield, Virginia native led 153 laps and won his second race at Kansas.

“This is a great feeling,” said Hamlin. “That car was awesome to dominate that whole second half. I have to thank everybody who pushed me on the restarts, Kyle (Busch), the 9 (Elliott) at the end. Good to see him make it by points anyway. But, hey, I’m just really happy for this whole FedEx team. It’s been great. Been running really good. Cannot wait to get to Martinsville Speedway (next Sunday’s Round of 8 opener).”

The early portion of the race displayed hard racing and Kyle Larson, who was locked into the Round of 8 after winning at Dover International Speedway, dominated the first stage. Although he had control of Stage 1, Larson lost the lead and Joey Logano won the first stage.

Race winner Hamlin would go on to win Stage 2 as the playoff bubble began to heat up. Team Penske drivers Logano and Brad Keselowski were both a part of the late-race bubble drama with Chase Elliott.

Going into the race, Elliott was ninth in points, outside of the cutline, while Logano and Keselowski were just ahead of him. Keselowski battled with a bad handling race car throughout the whole day and fell a lap down after pitting on Lap 216. He was able to obtain the free pass after a caution for debris on Lap 254.

But for the Michigan native, the race didn’t get any easier. While Keselowski restarted 19th in the late-race caution, Elliott was able to pit and grab four fresh tires and restart in seventh. Elliott was able to drive up to second until a caution came out with two laps to go.

Keselowski was able to pit before restarting 15th in the first of two overtimes. Driving up to 13th and three points ahead of Elliott, his teammate Logano would be involved in an accident resulting in another caution. At this point, both Team Penske drivers were at risk of elimination.

Unfortunately for Keselowski, he would restart 13th and lose multiple positions while Elliott placed second and moved on to the Round of 8 ahead of the 2012 champion. Logano was able to limp his torn-up race car to the 19th position and lock himself into the next round.  

"We needed every point we could get, and it looked like we were in a good spot,” Logano said. “Next thing you know they are wrecking on the outside and I get hit and I am going through the grass. I felt comfortable before that. This was a hard fought and blue-collar round for sure. On to the next round."

Other notable drivers that failed to qualify into the Round of 8 were the remaining Hendrick Motorsports drivers, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang of Clint Bowyer.

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The race begins at 3:00 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Here are the standings going into Martinsville: