NASCAR Playoffs at Kansas results: Martin Truex Jr. wins, Kyle Larson eliminated – CBSSports.com

Martin Truex Jr. won his seventh race of the season after starting on the pole on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, adding five more points to his playoff total, which is now at 69. Truex will carry that lead into the Round of 8, but the points will not carry over to the Championship 4 at Homestead if he does indeed advance again.

The win is Truex’s second in the Round of 12 and third in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Truex’s longtime girlfriend and cancer fighter Sherry Pollex, who missed his last win due to chemotherapy, was in attendance this weekend.

Wrecks led to the elimination of drivers Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray. One of the pre-playoff championship favorites, Kyle Larson, saw his title hopes come to a screeching halt when his engine blew up early on in Stage 1. And despite bringing out two cautions, seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was able to sneak into the Round of 8.

Joining Truex in the Round of 8 will be Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and of course Johnson. Truex will begin the round as the leader yet again, while Busch shoots back up to second-place after entering Sunday’s race below the cutline.

Here’s how it all went down:

Stage 1: Kyle Busch wins, Kyle Larson blows engine

Kyle Busch won Stage 1 under caution as Kyle Larson suffered heartbreaking engine failure. Busch entered the race below the cutline and earned a potential bonus point for the Round of 8 with the green-and-white checkered.

Truex sped away from the pack as soon as the green flag flew after starting on the pole. The No. 78 was able to build more than a four-second lead over second-place Busch before the competition caution came out on lap 30.

Truex joined elite company in Stage 1, becoming the 12th driver in NASCAR history to lead 2,000 laps in a season. He joins Cale Yarborough (7), Darrell Waltrip (7), Dale Earnhardt (4), Richard Petty (3), Rusty Wallace (3), Jeff Gordon (3), Bobby Allison (2), Kevin Harvick (2), David Pearson (1), Jimmie Johnson (1), and Dale Jarrett (1).

On the restart, Truex went below the white line on the track and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. While the No. 78 was leading at the time of the restart violation, Busch took over once Truex came down pit road. Even though Harvick was below the line as well, NASCAR explained that since the No. 4 followed the leader Truex, he was not penalized.

Truex’s longtime girlfriend and cancer fighter Sherry Pollex was not pleased with the result.

Brett Moffitt then brought out the caution, getting into the wall with 35 laps to go in the stage. This allowed Ryan Blaney, who started the race last after being penalized post-qualifying, to move inside the top five by staying out while the leaders pit.

Keselowski spun his tires upon the restart, forfeiting the lead to Blaney with less than 30 to go. Busch eventually passed Blaney with 26 to go for the race lead thanks in part to fresher tires. 

Kyle Larson had to bring his Chevrolet into pit road with less than 15 laps to go due to engine issues.Just a few laps later, the engine blew and Larson had to bring his car into the garage, essentially ending his championship hopes. Larson won four races this season and was one of the favorites to win the title heading into the playoffs. 

Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway Stage 1 results

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Jamie McMurray
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Martin Truex Jr.
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Erik Jones

BOLD – indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 driver

Stage 2: Joe Gibbs Racing drivers dominate

Denny Hamlin won Stage 2 in a one-lap shootout with Harvick and Keselowski. Busch dominated most of the stage, but finished fifth after pitting under yellow towards the end.

Busch held the lead on the restart and continued to battle Harvick and Blaney. The No. 78 team suffered more issues early on, with Truex bringing his Toyota down pit road for an unscheduled stop after reports of a loose wheel. Truex went a lap down as a result. 

While Busch continued his race domination, Dale Earnhardt Jr. came down pit road for the first scheduled stop. The No. 88 was running inside the top 15 when he came down for tires and fuel. Bubble drivers Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and others followed suit just a few laps later. Busch had originally planned on staying out longer, but decided to come in after the others did.

Last week’s winner Keselowski stayed out and built nearly a 20-second lead over rBusch. With nothing to lose, Keselowski was going for the extra Round of 8 bonus point earned but eventually pit with 17 laps to go after Busch gained ground.

Busch reassumed the lead as Harvick trailed with reports of a loose wheel. Fortunately for the No. 4 team, Moffitt brought out the caution again, allowing Harvick to pit under yellow before the stage ended. The yellow was also a positive for Truex, who was gambling on fuel while trying to climb back to the front.

Hamlin stayed out and drove on to win the stage. Johnson also stayed out but fell back upon the restart while Kenseth surged to fourth.

Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway Stage 2 results

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Erik Jones
  7. Jamie McMurray
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Jimmie Johnson

BOLD – indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 driver

Final Stage: Truex drives on to seventh victory

Hamlin immediately brought his car into the pits after earning the Stage 2 win but was penalized for speeding. The No. 11 dropped back to 25th for the start of the Final Stage as Kevin Harvick led the field to green.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a cut tire that sent him into the wall just 14 laps into the Final Stage. The No. 17 was in a must-win situation heading into the race and this crash all but ended his championship hopes. Stenhouse did have two victories on the season, but both came at restrictor-plate tracks.

Round of 16 knockouts Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne were penalized for speeding on pit road after the Stenhouse caution. Both would have been major storylines just weeks ago. Landon Cassill was also penalized for speeding.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Johnson saw his quest for an eighth title go potentially spinning out of control on lap 188. The No. 48 lost control and went spiraling through the infield grass however he did not suffer much damage. Johnson was able to bring his car down pit road to make repairs and restarted 26th.

Johnson again saw his championship hopes flash before his eyes just laps later on the restart when he once again went spinning. This time Johnson made contact with the wall. Again, he did not suffer much damage but had to come into the pits for a tire change and repairs. 

Upon the restart a huge pileup involving Round of 12 drivers Kenseth and Jamie McMurray ensued after Erik Jones got loose. Jones even went airborne at one point in the wreck but was able to emerge from his car OK.

Kenseth’s involvement immediately shot life into Johnson’s team as well as Larson, who was all but eliminated early on after bringing his car to the garage in Stage 1. Kenseth was then penalized for too many men over the wall while making repairs meaning by rule his day was over. Without a ride for 2018, the critical penalty ended his hopes of winning a championship in what may be his final season.

The rule can be compared to a football team throwing a winning touchdown in the final seconds, but having it disallowed for having too many men on the field. The irony in the wreck is that Jones, the driver replacing Kenseth next season in the No. 20, ended his season. 

McMurray, who was in a must-win situation, also saw his championship hopes come to an end. The wreck caused too much damage for the No. 1 team to recover from.

After the dust settled, Kyle Busch led the field back to green. Truex then completed his climb back to the front, passing Busch just a few laps later. Harvick came into the pits under green for four tires and fuel with 45 laps to go after complaints of being loose. It was a strategy call for the No. 4 team who was the first of the drivers to come down.

Busch came into the pits with 35 laps to go for adjustments after Truex got out to a nearly five-second lead. Just as teams began discussing fuel gambles, AJ Allmendinger went spinning and brought out the caution.

Truex won the race off pit road as Keselowski was busted for speeding ahead of the final stretch run. Again the No. 78 got off to an early lead and this time was able to drive onto a race victory.

Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Chris Buescher
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Aric Almirola
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Paul Menard
  13. Brad Keselowski
  14. Austin Dillon
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Ty Dillon
  17. David Ragan
  18. Michael McDowell
  19. Clint Bowyer
  20. Trevor Bayne
  21. Joey Logano
  22. Matt DiBenedetto
  23. Landon Cassill
  24. Cole Whitt
  25. Reed Sorenson
  26. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  27. Corey LaJoie
  28. Gray Gaulding
  29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (eliminated)
  30. BJ McLeod
  31. Brett Moffitt
  32. AJ Allmendinger
  33. Ryan Newman
  34. Jamie McMurray (eliminated)
  35. Erik Jones
  36. Daniel Suarez
  37. Matt Kenseth (eliminated)
  38. Danica Patrick
  39. Kyle Larson (eliminated)
  40. Derrike Cope

BOLD – indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 driver

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 standings

ELIMINATED – Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray

If you missed any of the action, please check out our live blog. It includes highlights and live analysis from Sunday’s playoff race at Kansas.

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