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NASCAR Cup: Chase Elliott on pole at Kansas

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, prepares for the NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 12, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After closing out the round of 12 of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with a fourth-straight road-course win and repeat win at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval, Chase Elliott will kick off the round of eight Friday with the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City.

“I don’t know if we are necessarily taking a different approach. I think we’re just trying to build on what we’ve been working on over the past few years,” Elliott said. “I feel like every year we’ve been close; we just haven’t been able to get over that hump and really assert ourselves among that top group. I feel like we’ve been right there. I feel like we’re very capable of it. Just those little inconsistencies and some bad race tracks have been our biggest problems. So we’re trying to be a little more consistent everywhere. I think it’s a goal. And eliminate bad tracks. You can’t have bad tracks at this level, and the guys who win often and win all the time and run good don’t have any bad tracks. So it’s certainly possible, and that’s just where we have to get to. The reality is that’s the only way to contend with them, and I think we’re capable of doing it.”

Elliott will share the second row of Sunday’s starting grid at Kansas with Joey Logano.

Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick will start in row two in the third and fourth positions, respectively.

The eight remaining playoff drivers will occupy the starting positions in the first four rows Sunday, Starting fifth through eighth will be Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.

“Making the round of eight was one of our team’s goals for the 2020 season,” Bowman said. “We are focused and ready to get through the round of eight and go for a championship in Phoenix next month. Going to Kansas this weekend is something I am looking forward to. We have had some strong results there in the past and Hendrick Motorsports’ intermediate program is one of our best. This No. 88 team is capable of putting together a race-winning Chevrolet and we believe we will have a strong car this weekend.”

Hamlin has won the last two races at Kansas, dating back to last year’s playoff race there.

“I think it kind of started last year. I don’t know. Kansas has not always been my strongest suit,” Hamlin said. “I was terrified of Kansas probably a few years ago, but I showed up to playoff race there last year, and my car was just absolutely incredible how well it was handling, how good it was. I remember I started mid-pack, maybe in the 20s, and just drove to the front and dominated the day. From that point on, once I create that good database for Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) to work off of, it seems like when we go back to the track, he’s made the proper adjustments for weather and conditions and things like that, car changes. He’s dialed in. Hopefully, I have another really good handling car like I’ve had in the last few races. If so, I know it’s an important one for us. We could go the next two weeks and really shift our focus from Texas and Martinsville to putting all of our resources towards Phoenix, and that would certainly be a benefit for whoever locks in right off the bat.”

Already-eliminated drivers Ryan Blaney and William Byron will be the the highest starters among the rest in row five.

Below, is the starting grid for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway:

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Posted by on October 17, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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