Hamlin Wins Kansas Race as Keselowski Fails to Advance

Jonathan Ferry - Getty Imahges

KANSAS CITY, KS – RIS - Denny Hamlin won his fifth race of the season and a former champion failed to make the field of eight at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.  Hamlin held off Chase Elliott to win the Hollywood Casino 400.  Elliott still made the cut for the final contenders for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, knocking Brad Keselowski out of the championship by three points. 

Hamlin led 153 of 277 laps, but two late cautions threatened to put his victory in peril. Bubba Wallace brought out a caution with five laps to go to send the race to overtime, then a multicar crash in overtime brought out another yellow flag just before Hamlin took the white flag which would have ended the race under caution.

Hamlin executed strong restarts each time, keeping his grip on the lead before finally taking the checkered flag in double overtime.

"I just had to hold the bottom and get a good push. It was all about the push that I got on those last couple of restarts. That was the most important thing for us – to get a good restart. Once we got out front, we could hold it wide open.

"Our car was built for downforce, so it worked out that it was just fast enough to win.”

Elliott, who entered the race below the cutline and needed every point he could amass to earn a berth to the third round.

"I pushed as hard as I knew how and didn’t quite do good enough on the last restart and that was it," a disappointed Keselowski said. "We clawed as hard as we could and there were times it looked like we were going to be fine and times it didn’t. In the end it didn’t work out.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron were also eliminated from championship contention along with Stewart-Haas Racing's Clint Bowyer, who was racing at his hometown track.  That left only Kevin Harvick still eligible from Stewart Haas Racing.

Hamlin joins Dover International Speedway winner Kyle Larson and Talladega Superspeedway winner Ryan Blaney in the semifinals, along with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick. reigning series champion Joey Logano and Elliott, who each made it on points.

Logano won the first stage and Hamlin the second. 

Drama was thick as the race went on to its conclusion.  It all came down to Elliott, Logano, and Keselowski over the last 30 laps.  Logano ran into trouble with a slow car and a late crash.   Keselowski also had, or some would say initiated a crash late in the race which sealed his fate.  Elliott did his job by racing through the field and finishing second.  Keselowski had won three races this season.

Unofficial Results: 19th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 - October 20, 2019 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, KS - 1.5 - Mile Paved

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, Stage 1 Pos, Stage 2 Pos, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 23, Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, 277, 8, 1, 3, 153, 6, 53, Running
2) 14, Chase Elliott (P), No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 277, 2, 5, 1, 4, , 50, Running
3) 18, Kyle Busch (P), No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota, 277, 5, 10, , , , 41, Running
4) 15, Kurt Busch, No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet, 277, , , , , , 33, Running
5) 25, William Byron (P), No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet, 277, , 4, 1, 1, , 39, Running
6) 11, Martin Truex Jr. (P), No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 277, 4, 3, 1, 33, , 46, Running
7) 20, Erik Jones, No. 20 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota, 277, 9, , , , , 32, Running
8) 21, Clint Bowyer (P), No. 14 DEKALB Ford, 277, , 9, , , , 31, Running
9) 40, Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4 Jimmy John's 3 Dollar Little John Ford, 277, , 6, , , , 33, Running
10) 12, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Fueling Futures Chevrolet, 277, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 16, Alex Bowman (P), No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 277, , , 1, 7, , 26, Running
12) 28, Ryan Preece #, No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet, 277, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 26, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Kroger Simmer Like A Winner Chevrolet, 277, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 5, Kyle Larson (P), No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 277, , , 3, 60, , 23, Running
15) 27, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota, 277, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 19, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 277, 10, , 1, 1, , 22, Running
17) 29, Joey Logano (P), No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 277, 1, 7, 1, 4, 1, 34, Running
18) 22, Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/Atlas Ford, 277, , 8, , , , 22, Running
19) 4, Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 277, 6, , 1, 2, , 23, Running
20) 9, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Roland Chevrolet, 277, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 3, Ryan Blaney (P), No. 12 Menards/Dickies Ford, 277, 7, 2, 1, 2, , 29, Running
22) 24, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 276, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 13, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford, 274, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 6, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 274, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 17, Matt Tifft #, No. 36 Louis Kemp Crab Delights Ford, 273, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 2, David Ragan, No. 38 MDS Ford, 273, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 33, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 Harrah's North Kansas City Chevrolet, 272, , , , , , 0, Running
28) 31, Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Kansasland Ford, 272, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 32, * Parker Kligerman(i), No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota, 271, , , , , , 0, Running
30) 36, JJ Yeley(i), No. 51 Jacob Companies Ford, 271, , , , , , 0, Running
31) 1, Daniel Hemric #, No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 270, , , 1, 4, , 6, Accident
32) 8, Daniel Suarez, No. 41 ARRIS Ford, 270, 3, , 1, 6, , 13, Accident
33) 34, * Reed Sorenson, No. 27 Chevrolet, 268, , , , , , 4, Running
34) 35, Garrett Smithley(i), No. 52 Bangor Bank Ford, 267, , , , , , 0, Running
35) 10, Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, 263, , , , , , 2, Accident
36) 37, * Josh Bilicki(i), No. 53 Insurance King Ford, 262, , , , , , 0, Running
37) 30, Landon Cassill(i), No. 00 Creek Enterprise Chevrolet, 203, , , , , , 0, Vibration
38) 39, * Joey Gase, No. 66 Page Construction Toyota, 107, , , , , , 0, Accident
39) 38, Timmy Hill(i), No. 77 Chevrolet, 95, , , , , , 0, Too Slow
40) 7, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Roush Performance Ford, 72, , , , , , 1, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (P) Playoffs qualified

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 2 Mins, 39 Secs
Race Length: 277 Laps - 415.5 Miles
Average Speed: 136.491 MPH
Margin of Victory: .128 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 22, 9, 41, 19, 18, 2, 12, 11, 20, 17
Stage 2 Top 10: 11, 12, 19, 24, 9, 4, 22, 21, 14, 18

Race Comments: Denny Hamlin won the 19th annual Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. His 36th victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Prior to the start the following vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty: No. 51 (Unapproved Adjustments).

Caution Flags: 7 for 32 laps;
Laps: 76-78 (Debris Turn 4 [21]);
82-86 (Stage 1 Conclusion [47]);
117-120 (No. 42, 66 Incident Turn 4 [88]);
162-166 (Stage 2 Conclusion [3]);
254-258 (Debris Turn 2 [21]);
265-269 (No. 36, 43 Incident Turn 2 [47]);
271-275 (No. 2, 3, 22, 41, 8 Incident Frontstretch [13]).

Lead Changes: 15 among 12 drivers;
D. Hemric # 1-4;
K. Larson (P) 5-6;
B. Keselowski (P) 7-8;
K. Larson (P) 9-48;
W. Byron (P) 49;
D. Hamlin (P) 50-58;
K. Larson (P) 59-76;
R. Blaney (P) 77-78;
J. Logano (P) 79-82;
C. Elliott (P) 83-86;
D. Suarez 87-92;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 93-125;
D. Hamlin (P) 126-218;
A. Bowman (P) 219-225;
R. Stenhouse Jr. 226;
D. Hamlin (P) 227-277.

American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Chase Elliott, No. 9
Busch Pole Award: Daniel Hemric, No. 8 178.047 mph

Fastest Lap: Daniel Suarez, No. 41
Moog Go the Extra Mile: Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 crew chief Cliff Daniels, 0.114 seconds

Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Ryan Preece, No. 47

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2019, Issue 9, Posted 10:17 PM, 10.20.2019