Martin Truex Jr. led 91 laps and bounced back from an early restart violation to win his seventh Cup race of the year in the playoff elimination race at Kansas Speedway.
The win by Truex in the Hollywood Casino 400 is a Cup record sixth win this year on a 1.5-mile track.
Truex was followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.
Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were eliminated from the playoffs.
Click here for the full results.
MORE: Martin Truex Jr. wins at Kansas; Kenseth, Larson, McMurray, Stenhouse Jr. eliminated
MORE: Martin Truex Jr. remains at top of heap as NASCAR Cup playoffs advance to Round of 8
It’s once again elimination time in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The playoff field will be cut from 12 to eight drivers following today’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. will be looking to earn his sixth win on a 1.5-mile track this year. He won the last visit to Kansas Speedway in May.
Here’s all the important info you need ahead of the race, which will air on NBCSN.
(All times are Eastern)
START: Jay Hernandez will give the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. Green flag is scheduled for 3:16 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 267 laps (400 miles) around the 1.5-mile oval.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 80. Stage 2 ends at Lap 160.
COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 30
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9:30 a.m. Driver-crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:20 p.m.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: Angie Rosner will perform the anthem at 3:01 p.m..
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com, starting with its pre-race show at 2 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 67 degrees and no chance of rain at race time.
LAST TIME: Martin Truex Jr. led the final 19 laps to win in May. He beat Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Harvick is the defending winner of this race. He beat Carl Edwards and Joey Logano last October.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup
If you thought the first five races of the NASCAR Cup playoffs were intense, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
As the 10-race playoffs move into their second half, the final five races will likely be more competitive than the first five.
That’s particularly true in Sunday’s cut-off race at Kansas, where the current field of 12 remaining playoff contenders will be cut to eight after the checkered flag falls.
And then there will be the Round of 8 cut-off race at Phoenix in four weeks that will set the four-driver field for the championship race in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Thanks to our friends at RacingInsights.com, here’s some of the top playoff insights that will help fans better understand where we are in the playoffs heading into Kansas:
- Playoff drivers have won all five races in the 2017 playoffs.
- The last time a driver who didn’t make it into the playoffs won a playoff race was Denny Hamlin at Homestead in 2013.
- The last playoff race won by a playoff driver who was previously eliminated from the playoffs was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Phoenix in 2015.
- Tony Stewart in 2005 is the only driver to go on to win the championship without winning a race during the playoffs.
- Four of five playoff races so far this season have been won from a qualifying position of sixth or better.
- Brad Keselowski won at Talladega driving a Ford, ending a four-race playoff winning streak by Toyotas. Also, prior to Talladega, Toyota drivers had won all four poles and all four races in the 2017 playoffs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the pole at Talladega, but finished seventh.
- Brad Keselowski won at Talladega with a last lap pass for the win, it was the eighth playoff race won with a last lap pass and the only one in the last 29 races.
- There were 11 cautions at Talladega, the most cautions in the last 18 playoff races.
- There were a combined 21 cautions in the last two playoff races, the same number as the previous four playoff races combined.
- Talladega last week: 14 cars running at the finish, 26 total DNFs (including 24 DNFs due to wrecks), three red flags and only two playoff drivers finished in the top 10 – all records for a playoff race.
- A Chevrolet driver has finished runner-up in each of this season’s first five playoff races.
- Chase Elliott has finished runner-up three times so far in the playoffs. The record for most runner-up finishes in the playoffs in a season was four by Jeff Gordon in 2014 and Jimmie Johnson in 2006. Elliott has also finished runner-up at both 1.5-mile tracks so far, with three more 1.5-mile tracks still left in the final five races (Kansas, Texas and Homestead-Miami).
- Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the only drivers still playoff-eligible that have scored stage points in every playoff race.
- The best average finish by a driver in all 10 races of the playoffs is 4.9 by Carl Edwards in 2011. Edwards tied Tony Stewart for the championship, but Stewart won on the first tiebreaker – more wins (five to Edwards’ one).
- Martin Truex Jr. has led the playoff standings through the first five races of the playoffs, tying Matt Kenseth in 2013 for the most races led by a driver to start the playoffs. Truex also won at Kansas in May.
- Three drivers have won races during the playoffs in all three years of the elimination format entering 2017: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson all three drivers have yet to win in 2017.
- Only two of the 135 playoff races were won by drivers getting their first NASCAR Cup win: Clint Bowyer in 2007 at New Hampshire and Brian Vickers in 2006 at Talladega.
- Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to win a race in every season of the playoffs entering 2017. Entering Kansas, Johnson remains winless in the 2017 playoffs.
With so many of the remaining 12 playoff drivers finding trouble at Talladega this past Sunday, several find themselves in further trouble heading into Sunday’s race at Kansas.
Once the checkered flag falls, four of the 12 remaining playoff drivers will be eliminated from advancing to the Round of 8 that begins next Sunday at Martinsville, followed by Texas and Phoenix.
Here are the drivers that are hot coming into Kansas, as well as those that are not:
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. (Hot)
- Won at Charlotte, sixth win this season (most of all drivers and personal best), finished 23rd at Talladega.
- Finished in the top 10 21 times this season, a series-best.
- Won 19 stages this season, series-best.
- Sixty-four playoff points this season, series-best.
- Led a series-high 1,977 laps in 2017, led the most laps in eight races.
- Won at Kansas in May.
- Average finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season is third.
- Won five of the eight 1.5-mile races this season.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick (Hot, Good at Kansas lately)
- Finished third at Charlotte after winning the first two stages and 20th at Talladega.
- Five fewer top fives and top 10s this year compared to last year (three less wins).
- Fourth in the standings, +22 to the cut line.
- Two Kansas wins, both coming in the playoffs.
- Finished top three at Kansas the last three years including a win in this race last year.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin (Hot)
- Finished fourth at Charlotte, sixth at Talladega.
- Finished top six in six of the last eighth races.
- Fifth in the standings, +21 to cut line.
- One Kansas win, Spring 2012.
- Finished 15th or worse in four of the last five Kansas races including 23rd in May.
No. 18 Kyle Busch (Hot)
- Finished 29th at Charlotte, hit the wall while running second. Finished 27th at Talladega after crash.
- Ninth in the standings, -7 to the cut line.
- Four wins this season, all in the last 11 races.
- Led laps in the last 14 races this season, career-best
- One Kansas win, Spring 2016.
- Finished top five in his last five races at Kansas, tied for longest streak ever at Kansas.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth (sneaky good, pretty good at Kansas)
- Finished 11th at Charlotte, 14th at Talladega.
- Worst finish in the playoffs is 14th.
- Tenth in the standings, -8 to the cut line.
- Two Kansas wins, last coming in 2013.
- Worst finish at Kansas in the last 14 races is 14th.
- Won the pole, led over 100 laps in this race last year, finished ninth. Finished 12th in May.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski (Good)
- Finished 15th at Charlotte, won at Talladega after having radio issues.
- Advances to the Round of 8
- One Kansas win, fuel mileage in 2011.
- Top-10 finishes in four of the five races at Kansas including runner-up in May.
No. 24 Chase Elliott
- Finished second at Charlotte, sixth career runner-up finish. Finished 16th at Talladega.
- Finished second in three of the last five races this season.
- Sixth in the standings, +20 to the cut line
- Worst finish in the last seven races is 16th.
- Best Kansas finish in three starts is ninth in Spring 2016.
- Finished 29th at Kansas in the Spring.
No. 42 Kyle Larson (Hot in 2017, Not great at Kansas)
- Finished 10th at Charlotte, 13th at Talladega after crash.
- Third in the standings, +29 to the cut line.
- Eight runner-up finishes this season.
- Four wins in 2017, had one entering this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2014, only finish better than 15th since is sixth in May.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
- Finished seventh at Charlotte, 24th at Talladega after accident
- Top-10 finishes in four of the last six races.
- Eighth in the standings, +7
- Four top-five finishes this season, three were wins.
- Three time Kansas winner (tied for the most), last was Spring 2015.
- Only two finishes outside the top 10 in his first 16 starts at Kansas, three in the last six including 24th in May.
- Only three top 10 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks this season
No. 77 Erik Jones
- Top-10 finishes in seven of the last 11 races this season.
- Two Kansas starts including the first of his career driving the No. 18.
- Finished 22nd at Kansas in May, multiple spins
Who’s Not Hot:
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Not)
- Finished 13th at Charlotte, 26th at Talladega
- 11th in the standings, -22 to the cut line
- Best finish since his win at Daytona in July is 13th
- Best Kansas finish is 11th, twice including in May
No. 1 Jamie McMurray (Decent)
- Finished fifth at Charlotte and 37th at Talladega after crash.
- Twelfth in standings, -29 to cut line.
- Sixteen top-10 finishes this season, six more than this point last year.
- Best Kansas finish is seventh, twice in 21 starts.
- Finished eighth in May at Kansas.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney (Just OK)
- Finished eighth at Charlotte, 18th at Talladega after accident after leading 27 laps.
- Currently seventh in the standings, +9 to the cut line.
- Last top-five finish was his win at Pocono in June.
- Eleven top-10 finishes this season but none have come in back-to-back races.
- Top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts at Kansas.
- Won the pole, finished fourth in May, led 83 laps, won Stage 2.
No. 3 Austin Dillon (Not hot)
- Finished 29th Talladega.
- Only two top-15 finishes in the last 12 races.
- Finished 14th in the first round
- Only four top-10 finishes this season, had 12 at this point last year.
- Finished top 10 in two of the last three races at Kansas.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne (Not hot)
- Finished eighth at Talladega, first back-to-back top-10 finishes since the first two races of the season.
- Only three top-10 finishes in the last 21 races.
- Finished 15th in the first round
- Six DNFs this season.
- Won at Indianapolis ending a 102-race winless streak.
- He has finished on the lead lap in 54 percent of the races this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second, twice.
- Worst finish in the last four races at Kansas is 16th.
No. 31 Ryan Newman
- Finished second at Kansas, broke a four race streak of finishing outside the top 10.
- Finished round one 13th in the standings
- One Kansas win, 2003.
- Only three Kansas top fives, all came in the first three races at Kansas.
- Finished last at Kansas in May.
No. 41 Kurt Busch
- Finished 25th at Talladega
- Finished 19th or worse in the last five races.
- Finished 16th in the first round, 25 points below the cut line.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2013.
- Finished 19th in May at Kansas.
No. 14 Clint Bowyer
- Finished 35th at Talladega.
- Finished runner-up three times in 2017.
- Twelve top 10s in 2017, had only three in all of 2016.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2007.
No. 22 Joey Logano
- Finished fourth at Talladega, only his fourth top-five finish since his Richmond win.
- Eleven finishes outside the top 20 in the last 22 races.
- Won at Richmond but was encumbered.
- First time he has missed the playoffs with Team Penske.
- Two-time Kansas winner.
- Finished top five in six of the last eight races at Kansas.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Finished seventh at Talladega
- Finished top 12 in the last three races, best streak this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2011
- Finished 15th or worse in three of his last four Kansas starts.
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex have been voted the third quarter winners of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.
The Spirit Award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.
The couple was nominated for their “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign to raise awareness and funds for ovarian and childhood cancer. They received 45 percent of the vote. Also receiving votes were the NASCAR Foundation, Joey Logano and nominated as a group were Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.
In its second year, Truex and Pollex’s campaign included 29 NASCAR drivers participating by using custom teal and gold steering wheels produced by Max Papis Innovations (MPI) and driving gloves. The autographed steering wheels and gloves were auctioned off at the end of September.
Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014 and was in remission by early 2016. But she underwent a procedure for a recurrence last July. Pollex was not present for Truex’s win at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago as she recovered from a chemotherapy session.
Artist Sam Bass and The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America won the Spirit Award earlier this year.
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