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NASCAR Cup: Chase Elliott wins at Kansas

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 21, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Since Chase Elliott claimed his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win 11 races ago at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, the driver has been on a roll. He claimed his third-career win, his second in the three-race round of the 2018 playoffs Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

“I feel like we are among those guys that you have to beat, and I think that is all you can ask for,” Elliott said. “I think we still have room to improve, but the last month or two has been way closer to where we need to be.”

Kyle Busch finished second. He challenged Elliott for the lead for several laps but, then, lost ground to Elliott as the 267-lap race neared its completion.

“We got too tight, there, on that long run,” Busch said. “I knew it was going to get tight; it was just a matter of whether or not I could get there and get by him (Elliott) first. Running the top like that, it just inherently creates tight in the race car. The sooner you get up there, the longer you’re up there and it just gets that much tighter. Chase did a good job of having that big of a gap that he didn’t have to go up there so early, and he had a little bit better tire, there, when I got to him, and he was able to move down a little bit and keep rolling with the speed. I just couldn’t do it that way. We come home second today. That’s just kind of all there is it to it. I didn’t think we were going to have to a second-place car. When we here at the test, the 9 (Elliott) was actually right on line with us, maybe even a tick better at times during the test when we were here, so they’ve had a fast car here for a while.”

Kyle Larson finished third but missed playoff advancement after starting the race in the back in a backup car because of a Friday practice crash. Other drivers eliminated from the playoffs at Kansas included Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman. All eliminated drivers finished the race in the top-10, though.

Joey Logano led a race-high 100 laps, all in the first half of the race. He won the first 80-lap stage of the race but was eighth at the checkered flag. The other stage winner was Kevin Harvick.

Harvick beat Logano out of the pits during a cycle of green-flag pit stops past lap 120 and led 76 laps before a pit-road speeding penalty during another green-flag cycle past lap 200.

Keselowski led laps during two green-flag cycles of stops by staying out longer, hoping for cautions that didn’t come. Each time, he lost ground on older tires. He recovered to finish the race in the sixth position.

When Keselowski pitted for the final time on lap 223, Elliott took the lead he wouldn’t relinquish for the remaining distance of the race.

“I would say about the end of that first stage, it was pretty obvious that we needed something after I saw some things on the other cars,” Keselowski said. “We needed something to step up, but it just wasn’t there. We just weren’t as good today as we were yesterday, and I am not sure why. Everyone else seemed to find a little from practice, and we were about the same, maybe a little worse than we were in practice. I am proud of what we did down the stretch of the year. We won three races and did all that. I feel like we can go win Martinsville next week, so I am excited about that, but of course, the ultimate goal is to win a championship, and we won’t have an opportunity to do that this year.”

The yellow flag waved only three times in the race. Aside from the two cautions at the end of each of the two 80-lap stages, the yellow flag only waved one other times — on lap 57 when William Byron blew his engine and spread fluid on the race track.

Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five.

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Below, is the finishing order of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway:

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Posted by on October 21, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,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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