Only 8 Remain

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Only 8 Remain

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Four drivers got eliminated from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after last Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The postseason field was trimmed from 12 drivers to eight. 

Out of the 12 drivers in the “Round of 12”, the drivers that advance to the “Round of 8” are Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney. Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Alex Bowman, and Clint Bowyer are the four drivers that got eliminated and now won’t have a shot at the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. 

Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney had clinched spots in the “Round of 8” based on their victories earlier in the round. Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. clinched their spot in the next round by their performance in the first two stages at Kansas. Hamlin won stage two as Truex gathered up 15 playoff points in the two stages. Chase Elliott earned his spot into the next round by his team benefitting from a late race caution. Elliott came home with a second place finish and erased a 22-point gap to keep his championship hopes alive. Joey Logano was on the bubble heading into Kansas. He won the first stage and scored four points in stage two to help keep his championship hopes alive to try and defend his title. 

Early damage and a bad handling No. 88 Chevrolet for Alex Bowman hindered his long shot chances of advancing to the next round of the playoffs. Even though we recovered for a short period of time and got back on the lead lap, Bowman finished just shy of the top 10 of each stage. That hurt his chances of moving on in the postseason. Brad Keselowski faded out quickly for getting one of the final spots in the “Round of 8”. Keselowski finished 19th with a very rough run at Kansas. He also won at Kansas earlier in the year in May. Keselowski didn’t score a single top 10 finish in any of the three “Round of 12” races.

Denny Hamlin is the driver to come out on top at the end of the day with the win at Kansas Speedway, beating Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch in a wild second overtime attempt. Hamlin’s win in the second playoff elimination race is his fifth win of the season and his second win in his Cup Series career at Kansas. Kurt Busch and William Byron would round out the top five.

The second overtime attempt was caused by a big crash on the frontstretch right before the field took the white flag. The caution came out when Hamlin was just half a car length away from the finish line. The wreck included playoff driver Joey Logano, Daniel Hemeric, and Daniel Suarez. The overtime attempts were created by a wreck with three laps to go the the scheduled distance involving Bubba Wallace and Matt Tifft. With his second-place finish Chase Elliott advanced to the “Round of 8”. He finished the “Round of 12” three points above the cutline after entering the race 22 points below the cutline. It’s the fifth time a driver has raced their way into the “Round of 8” in the elimination race.

Watch the next race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at one of the most exciting races and tracks of the year for the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday at 3:00 P.M. on NBCSN.

 

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