Tyler Reddick Advances in NASCAR Cup Playoffs with Win at Kansas

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Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS — September 10, 2023

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue this week from Kansas Speedway in the Hollywood Casino 400. The second race of Round One should clarify who the favorites are to advance and who may be in trouble below the cut line.

Currently, Michael McDowell is 19 points below Christopher Bell, the driver ranked 12th and in the final position to advance. Bubba Wallace (-1), Kevin Harvick (-2), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-4) are in much better shape and could still make a move upward. It will take a huge effort and some luck for McDowell to overcome the hole he dug for himself last week at Darlington.

Bell (+1) and Joey Logano (+3) are currently in a position to advance but cannot afford another substandard performance in this week’s race.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 27 at Darlington
Rank Driver Points Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts + / – Cutoff
1 Kyle Larson (P) 2,074 27 3 3 22 In On Wins
2 William Byron (P) 2,075 27 5 8 36 45
3 Tyler Reddick (P) 2,060 27 1 4 9 30
4 Chris Buescher (P) 2,057 27 3 1 21 27
5 Denny Hamlin (P) 2,057 27 2 7 27 27
6 Martin Truex Jr. (P) 2,055 27 3 6 36 25
7 Kyle Busch (P) 2,050 27 3 2 19 20
8 Brad Keselowski (P) 2,048 27 0 4 10 18
9 Ryan Blaney (P) 2,046 27 1 3 8 16
10 Ross Chastain (P) 2,043 27 1 5 11 13
11 Joey Logano (P) 2,033 27 1 3 8 3
12 Christopher Bell (P) 2,031 27 1 2 14 1
13 Bubba Wallace (P) 2,030 27 0 0 0 -1
14 Kevin Harvick (P) 2,029 27 0 1 4 -2
15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P) 2,027 27 1 0 5 -4
16 Michael McDowell (P) 2,012 27 1 2 7 -19

 

Active Race Winners at Kansas Speedway

Logano has the benefit of past success at Kansas, as does Harvick. Denny Hamlin, who ran well at Darlington before an error in the pits ruined his chance at the win, has the most wins at Kansas among active drivers.

Active Kansas Race Winners (9) Wins Seasons
Denny Hamlin 4 2023, 2020, 2019, 2012
Joey Logano 3 2020, 2015, 2014
Kevin Harvick 3 2018, 2016, 2013
Kyle Busch 2 2021, 2016
Brad Keselowski 2 2019, 2011
Martin Truex Jr 2 2017 sweep
Bubba Wallace 1 2022
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Chase Elliott 1 2018

 

Today’s Race

Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile trioval with a reputation for eating up cars that cannot find the setup to handle properly. The 267 laps that make up the 400.5 miles scheduled for the Hollywood Casino 400 are divided into Stages of 80/85/102 laps.

Christopher Bell sits on the pole for the second week in a row. Last week’s winner, Kyle Larson, starts beside him on the front row. Series points leader, William Byron, starts in ninth. Hamlin sits 14th on the grid.

Kyle Busch and Ty Gibbs will start at the rear of the field after separate incidents in practice that caused damage to their race cars.

Bubba Wallace is the defending champion of the race. He starts tenth.

Stage One

Christopher Bell(20) drove off into turn one ahead of Kyle Larson(5), he led for two laps. Martin Truex Jr.(19) cut down a right rear tire on lap three and hit the outside wall. The front suspension on his race car was badly damaged, and he became the first playoff driver out of the race.

Under the caution flag from the Truex crash, a few drivers back in the field chose to pit. Including Kyle Busch(8), complaining his car was too tight. His crew made a change to the right front suspension in hopes of improving the handling.

On the restart,  Larson got a great jump and took over the lead of the Hollywood 400. Bubba Wallace(23), making a charge to the front, replaced Bell in the second position.

With the changes to his car, Busch worked his way up to 17th (an 18-position improvement since the start) just before green flag pit stops began on lap 37. Like Darlington, Kansas Speedway has a very abrasive track surface, and tire wear creates a significant fall-off in lap times. Not wanting to get off cycle, the leaders came to pit road within the next few laps.

Larson retained the lead after all pit stops were completed.

Austin Dillon(3) and William Byron(24) spun on the backstretch on lap 62, bringing out the caution again. Byron avoided contact, but Dillon was not as lucky, slamming the outside wall and creating damage to the right front of his car.

Wallace exited the pit road before Larson to take over the top spot. When the green flag restarted the race with 11 laps to go, Larson immediately passed Wallace to move back out front. Nine of the top ten spots were occupied by playoff drivers. Chase Elliott(9) in ninth was the only interloper.

Larson held on for the Stage win.

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 5 Kyle Larson (P) 10
2 23 Bubba Wallace (P) 9
3 20 Christopher Bell (P) 8
4 1 Ross Chastain (P) 7
5 12 Ryan Blaney (P)* 6
6 45 Tyler Reddick (P) 5
7 11 Denny Hamlin (P) 4
8 6 Brad Keselowski (P)* 3
9 9 Chase Elliott 2
10 4 Kevin Harvick (P)* 1

(P) Playoff Drivers *Ford Mustang Drivers

Stage Two

Larson and Wallace held their positions after pit stops. Ross Chastain(1) moved into third place, with Elliott and Tyler Reddick(45) rounding out the top five.

Bubba Wallace had a right rear tire go flat 28 laps into the Second Stage. Wallace tapped the wall and broke the toe link in the right rear suspension. The incident brought out the fourth caution of the day, and Wallace lost three laps on the pit road while his crew worked to replace the damaged component.

A scramble at the front of the pack broke out on the restart. However, the excitement was quickly muted as Austin Cindric(2) spun off turn two.

Chase Elliott was out front when the caution waved for the Cindric incident. Reddick was second, and Larson third. Wallace returned to pit road for additional repairs and was still sitting there when the race went back to green.

Elliott, Larson, Brad Keselowski(6), Reddick, and Chastain were the top five.

Chase Briscoe(14) lost electrical power and slowly circled the track on the apron. NASCAR was forced to display the caution, allowing almost the entire field to come to the pits for fresh tires to complete the Stage.

Pit stops shuffled the running order. Elliott and Larson stayed out front, with Ryan Blaney, Chastain, and Bell joining the top five. With 25 laps to go in the Stage, Harvick and Keselowski were making a run up the leaderboard into second and third.

With 15 laps to go, Keselowski passed Harvick for second place and set his sights on the leader. Hamlin joined the lead battle, just as Keselowski was making the pass for the top spot getting the playoff point for winning the Stage. Hamlin passed Elliott as they raced to the green and white checkered flag.

Michigan’s Erik Jones finished fifth, the only non-playoff driver to earn Stage points.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 6 Brad Keselowski (P)* 10
2 11 Denny Hamlin (P) 9
3 9 Chase Elliott (P) 8
4 4 Kevin Harvick (P)* 7
5 45 Tyler Reddick (P) 6
6 43 Erik Jones 5
7 12 Ryan Blaney (P)* 4
8 22 Joey Logano (P)* 3
9 17 Chris Buescher (P)* 2
10 20 Christopher Bell (P) 1

(P) Playoff Drivers *Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

Keselowski and Hamlin led the pack to the green flag for the restart. Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick followed in the row behind the leaders.

Brad Keselowski(6) and Denny Hamlin(11) race for the lead at Kansas Speedway / NASCAR Photo

With 93 laps to go in the race, Harrison Burton(21) got pushed into the wall, had a right front tire go flat, and broke the right rear toe link. The race went back under the caution flag.

Tyler Reddick replaced Harvick in the second row for the next restart. Hamlin and Reddick passed Keselowski with 80 laps to go. Jones began to close on the #6 car while Elliott passed Harvick for the fifth spot.

Green flag pit stops began with 54 laps to go when Jones pitted from the fourth position. The rest of the leaders followed in the next few laps. Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell opted to run long before pitting, hoping a caution flag would improve their track position.

After pit stops were complete, Hamlin, Reddick, Keselowski, Jones, and Elliott were the top five. Kyle Larson began making moves toward the front, passing Jones for the fifth spot. Elliott, making a late run, passed Keselowski for third with ten laps to go.

With seven laps to go, Chris Buescher blew a right rear tire, and the caution flag was displayed again.

All the leaders came to pit road for fresh tires with four laps to go. Daniel Suarez stayed on the track and inherited the lead. Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano took two tires each. Hamlin, with four fresh tires, restarts in fifth.

NASCAR Overtime

The race went into overtime, a two-lap sprint for the win. Erik Jones and Joey Logano raced side-by-side to the white flag. But it was Tyler Reddick diving low to pass both cars and take the lead to start the final lap.

Jones cleared Logano and drove high to block Hamlin, likely costing the #11 car the win. Reddick drove away for the win, locking himself into the Round of 12. Hamlin passed Jones for second. The Michigan native hung on to finish in the third spot.

Playoff Standings

Rank Driver Points Status
1 Kyle Larson 2117 Advanced Win
2 Tyler Reddick 2111 Advanced Win
3 Denny Hamlin 2105 +49
4 William Byron 2097 +41
5 Brad Keselowski* 2089 +33
6 Ryan Blaney* 2081 +25
7 Kyle Busch 2080 +24
8 Ross Chastain 2074 +18
9 Chris Buescher* 2069 +13
10 Christopher Bell 2069 +13
11 Joey Logano* 2068 +12
12 Kevin Harvick* 2063 +7
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut Line
13 Martin Truex Jr. 2056 -7
14 Bubba Wallace 2044 -19
15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2041 -22
16 Michael McDowell* 2023 -40

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Michael McDowell are essentially in a must-win situation if they are to advance out of the first round. Former Cup Champions Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick are on the bubble. Only seven points separate them. With his track position gamble at the end of the race, Logano may have gained enough points to let him breathe a little easier going into the night race at Bristol.

None of the four drivers in positions 9-12 can afford a bad race next Saturday night.

The Lasco Press will be live at Bristol for the first elimination race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the contenders are cut from 16 to 12.

Results of the Hollywood Casino 400 from Kansas Speedway

POS CAR DRIVER BEHIND LAPS
1 45 Tyler Reddick (P) 268
2 11 Denny Hamlin (P) 0.327 268
3 43 Erik Jones 0.516 268
4 5 Kyle Larson (P) 0.642 268
5 22 Joey Logano (P) 0.823 268
6 9 Chase Elliott (P) 1.300 268
7 8 Kyle Busch (P) 1.330 268
8 20 Christopher Bell (P) 1.570 268
9 6 Brad Keselowski (P) 1.656 268
10 48 Alex Bowman 1.661 268
11 4 Kevin Harvick (P) 1.886 268
12 12 Ryan Blaney (P) 1.939 268
13 1 Ross Chastain (P) 2.038 268
14 54 Ty Gibbs 2.043 268
15 24 William Byron (P) 2.253 268
16 99 Daniel Suarez 2.907 268
17 10 Aric Almirola 3.015 268
18 41 Ryan Preece 3.139 268
19 14 Chase Briscoe 3.258 268
20 42 Carson Hocevar 3.953 268
21 31 Justin Haley 4.446 268
22 7 Corey LaJoie 4.502 268
23 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P) 5.903 268
24 51 Cole Custer 6.426 268
25 38 Todd Gilliland -1 267
26 34 Michael McDowell (P) -1 267
27 17 Chris Buescher (P) -1 267
28 77 Ty Dillon -1 267
29 78 Sheldon Creed -2 266
30 16 AJ Allmendinger -2 266
31 2 Austin Cindric -2 266
32 23 Bubba Wallace (P) -4 264
33 3 Austin Dillon -9 259
34 15 JJ Yeley -56 212
35 21 Harrison Burton -93 175
36 19 Martin Truex Jr. (P) -265 3