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Denny Hamlin Wins NASCAR Cup Race At Kansas; Eight Drivers Advance To 3rd Round Of Playoffs

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TOPEKA, KANSAS (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is advancing to the third round of NASCAR’s Playoffs after winning Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.  Hamlin held off a hard-charging Chase Elliott in the 2nd NASCAR overtime to win by .128-seconds.  The win was Hamlin’s fifth of the year and 36th of his career.

“Happy for the whole FedEx team,” said Hamlin.  “That car was awesome. To dominate the second half of that race. I thought the strength of us really was being able to move around the racetrack, run close to the same lap time no matter what lane we were in. That kind of allowed me to get through traffic the way we did, then obviously hold those guys off at the end.”

Elliott finished second and started the final restart in third place knowing his best chance to advance to the next round of the playoffs was to get past Hamlin and win.

“I was trying to make a run a Denny but we just never got out momentum up enough for me to do anything about it,” said Elliott.  “The good news was the bottom lane rolled enough on that last restart so we could get back to second.  I appreciate the effort.  Just excited we get to fight another race.”

Elliott didn’t win but he did advance to the third round on points edging Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski for the eighth and final transfer spot.

“I couldn’t get nothing to go for me on the restart on the inside line,” said Keselowski.  “I needed to get up (into the outside lane) and I couldn’t get up and somebody went 3-wide and I got sandwiched in the middle of (turn) four.  It was just all bad and I didn’t do a good enough job.”

Kyle Busch started restarted NASCAR overtime in third place and finished in third place, which enabled Busch to move into the third round of the playoffs.

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished fourth in the No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet.

Hendrick Motorsports William Byron rounded out the top 5.  Byron needed to win to advance to the next round of the playoffs and was eliminated despite the strong finish.

JGR’s Martin Truex Jr, and Erik Jones finished sixth and seventh respectively.  Stewart Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick finished eighth and ninth with Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson rounding out the top 10.

The five other drivers advancing to the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs include Truex, Joey Logano, Harvick, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney.

The next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is October 27th at Martinsville Speedway.

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NASCAR

Ross Chastain To Drive Chip Ganassi’s #42 Camaro In 2021

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Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi is getting ready for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) by hiring Ross Chastain to drive the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet Camaro.

Chastain replaces Matt Kenseth, who was hired in May to replace Kyle Larson, who was fired for using a racial slur during an iRacing event this Spring.

Chastain, a CGR development driver since 2018, is currently competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), where he qualified for the playoffs for a second time following a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.

Chastain first competed for CGR in 2018, behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet in the NXS. In the three races Chastain ran for the team that year, he earned a pole at Darlington, a win at Las Vegas, and a runner-up finish at Richmond, which helped him earn a spot in the NXS playoffs.

“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the No. 42 team,” said Ganassi. “In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”

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Chastain, a native of Alva Florida, began his racing career at the age of 12 at Punta Gorda Speedway in his home state, racing in both late model stock cars and Fastruck Series events. During his short-track racing career he scored over 50 feature wins, including the 2011 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway, winning three of eight events in the series.

Chastain made his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) in 2011 and raced in that series for three seasons.  Chastain began racing in the NXS in 2014 while continuing to make starts in the Truck Series.  Chastain made his first start in the NCS in 2017 and ran nearly a full season in both 2018 and 2019 while also competing in the NXS. He also raced full-time in the NGROTS in 2019, where he won three races and finished second in the points standings. In total, Chastain has 352 starts in NASCAR’s three top series, with three wins in the NGROTS and two wins in the NXS. Since 2017, he has continued to make starts in all three national series.

“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” said Chastain. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”

Chastain earned the nickname ‘Melon Man’ because for eight generations his family has been involved in watermelon farming.  Chastain continues to work on the family’s land when his schedule allows.  Chastain’s signature move after a race win is to spike a watermelon at the finish line.

Chastain’s CGR teammate Kurt Busch is excited to have the ‘Melon Man’ as part of the CGR lineup in 2021.

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NASCAR

Kevin Harvick Holds Off Kyle Busch To Win NASCAR Cup Series Bristol Night Race

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

BRISTOL, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kevin Harvick continued his incredible season by holding off Kyle Busch to win the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang beat the No. 18 Skittles Camry to the checkered flag by .310-second and led a race-high 226-laps en route to Harvick’s 58th career Cup Series victory.

“We had just a really, really good Busch Light Ford Mustang tonight,” said Harvick. “I got it a little dinged up with 50 or 60 laps to go. I knocked a hole in the nose and made it a little too tight through the center of the corner, but turned into a heck of a race, in and out of traffic there with Kyle. He got me once pinned up there in traffic and I was able to do the same thing back and then hold the lead there until the end.”

“Frustrated over finishing second,” said Busch. “You know, just felt like this was one of our greater shots to win, and I don’t know. You know, just come up short.  Skittles Camry was fast and we had a good car, one that was in contention all night long. Fired off the start of the race, I was like, oh, wow, this is a pretty good car and then got beat by another really good car, I guess.”

Harvick was already locked into the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 by virtue of his win at Darlington and Busch’s second place allowed him to advance based on points.

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Four drivers failed to advance and were eliminated from the playoffs: William Byron, who was involved in an incident where he slammed into the back of another car.  Ryan Blaney finished 13th but did not have enough points to advance.  Matt DiBenedetto finished 19th and did not have enough points to advance and Cole Custer finished 23rd and is out of the playoffs.

The race featured 14-lead changes among 8-drivers and was slowed by 5-caution flags for 50-laps.  The average speed of the race was 95.911-mph.

The NASCAR Cup Series moves onto Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2020.

Cup Series Bristol Results

NASCAR Drivers Points After Bristol

NASCAR Playoff Points Reseeded

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Brad Keselowski Wins Race 2 Of The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

RICHMOND, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski is automatically locked into Round 2 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after winning Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway.

Keselowski beat Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. by 1.568-seconds to win his fourth race of the season and 34th of his Cup Series career in a race where there was not a single accident.

“These cars all drove so bad with that little bitty spoiler on them, a lot of horsepower, and you had guys with new tires and old tires sliding around, and it’s so easy to get in trouble and to wreck,” Keselowski said about the high horsepower, low downforce package featured at Richmond. “These drivers are just freaking good, and they didn’t do that. And to win a race against drivers that are this good is pretty cool. It’s something I’m very proud of, and I’m going to try to soak it up.”

Truex brought it home in second place after throwing away a chance at a win or even a good finish a week earlier at Darlington.

“It feels good,” said Truex. “You know, obviously wanted to win and going for three in a row here would have been pretty cool to be able to make that happen, but just didn’t quite have what we needed tonight. Bass Pro Toyota was good, just not quite good enough.”

Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano finished third in the No. 22 Ford Mustang.

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“Third place, that’s about where we were today,” said Logano. “Had a pretty good car and thought early in the race we were a couple adjustments away from being where we needed to be and just seemed like as the track kept going on, I got a little bit tighter, and every time we tried to fix that we got a little bit looser off. It’s kind of pick your poison; do you want to be loose off or do you want to half turn.”

Truex’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin punched his ticket to the Round of 12 with a Stage win and a 12th place finish.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished 13th and sits in 11th place in the Championship standing, 7-points above the cut line heading into next weekend’s elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney all sit below the cut line and will need to either win or have outstanding races if they have any hope of advancing to the next round.

The next race is September 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Cup Richmond Results

NASCAR Cup Series Points

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