KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Denny Hamlin proved old tires could hold off the field for a mile and a half at the end of the second stage of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, staying out after a late caution and stealing his third stage win of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season as a result.
Hamlin and crew chief Mike Wheeler called their strategy perfectly to pick up 10 bonus points and a playoff point towards their bank should he advance to the Round of 8 at the end of the race, crossing .317 of a second in front of Kevin Harvick’s fresher tires at the green-checkered flag.
The extra points give Hamlin some buffer room as he looks to move on in the playoffs.
The lone caution of the stage flew with five to go before the stage break, after Brett Moffitt lost a right rear tire and pounded the outside wall.
Before that, green flag pit stops rolled through just prior to lap 130, seeing Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski lead during the cycle before Busch reclaimed the top spot on the 145th round.
Busch held the position until the caution and subsequent one-lap dash, being held up behind the slowing Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson as Harvick soared to the runner-up position in the final sprint.
Keselowski finished the stage in third, ahead of Matt Kenseth and Busch.
Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Johnson completed the points-scoring drivers in the top 10 at the second stage break, with Johnson edging out Clint Bowyer by .001 of a second for the final point.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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