ADVANCING through the NASCAR Playoffs: Kansas analysis

The NASCAR Cup Series kicked off its Round of 8 in the 2020 NASCAR Playoffs at Kansas Speedway with the Hollywood Casino 400. Sunday marked the first of three races in this postseason round. At the end of it, four drivers will be eliminated from playoff contention and the Championship 4 will be set for the title race Nov. 8 at Phoenix Raceway.


Joey Logano. The No. 22 Team Penske Ford won Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the 1.5-mile track in Kansas City, Kansas, leading 47 of the 267 laps. It marked Logano’s third win in 2020 and 26th in his career. The 2018 champ is locked into the Championship 4.

RELATED: Unofficial race results


Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford finished runner-up after losing the lead to Joey Logano with 45 laps to go. Harvick tried to chase Logano down but fell short by .312 seconds. Harvick led a race-high 85 laps.

Chase Elliott. The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team struggled with radio issues throughout the entire first stage. Elliott reported he could not clearly hear his crew chief or spotter, though they could hear the driver fine. That didn’t prevent Elliott from going on to win Stage 1 for a playoff bonus point. The only reason Elliott now lands below the cutline after his sixth-place, 47-points day points is because Joey Logano won from fifth in standings.


Denny Hamlin. The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota clipped the Turn 4 wall with 86 laps to go in the final stage while battling for fifth. The contact made the right-rear tire go down, prompting an unscheduled pit stop. Hamlin had just won Stage 2. He finished 15th. Watch what happened.

Kurt Busch. The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet blew its motor with 69 laps remaining, forcing Busch to exit the race prematurely. Busch was already in the eighth — last — playoff spot, 21 points below the cutline. This keeps him there and adds to his deficit. Learn what happened.


Rank Driver Points to cutoff
1. Joey Logano WIN
2. Kevin Harvick +41
3. Denny Hamlin +20
4. Brad Keselowski +8
——-                               CUTOFF LINE ———————
5. Chase Elliott -8
6. Alex Bowman -27
7. Martin Truex Jr. -31
8. Kurt Busch -73


The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for its second race in the Round of 8 next Sunday — the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).


Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has won three of the last six races in Fort Worth, Texas, and all three of those wins came during the playoffs. The three other spring races still resulted in top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place finish earlier this season. Harvick also boasts the best average finish at the Texas track among playoff contenders with a 10.2 mark.


Alex Bowman. The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet carries the worst Texas average finish — 25.6 — among playoff drivers. In Bowman’s 10 starts there, he has one top-five and one top-10 finish, and it was a fifth-place effort in last year’s postseason event. Earlier this season, he wound up 30th after crashing out with 15 laps to go.