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.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished fourth in the No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet.
We fought our way to a solid 4th place finish, which seems appropriate for the @AdventHealth #BreastCancerAwareness #Camaro. We met with so many survivors this week who fight real fights every single day, and refuse to ever give up. Their courage is inspiring.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) October 21, 2019
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.