Through 12 cautions, hard side drafts, and maneuvers on the inside lane, Denny Hamlin would prevail and win at Kansas Speedway Thursday evening.
The win is Hamlin’s fifth on the season. The win breaks the tie with Kevin Harvick for the most wins among the field this season and is Hamlin’s second consecutive victory at the 1.5-mile track after winning there Oct. 20, 2019.
While Harvick started on the pole, Joey Logano would instantly take the outside lane and overtake the No. 4 Ford on the backstretch on lap one. While Martin Truex Jr. would claw up to second, Logano would hold off the No. 19 for Joe Gibbs Racing at the onset of the competition caution on lap 25.
Truex would inherit the lead at the restart on lap 31 after Logano was forced to the rear for an uncontrolled tire penalty. Kyle Busch, Truex’s teammate, would instantly surge on the inside line and take the lead through turn one. Busch would maintain the lead over his Joe Gibbs teammates, Hamlin and Truex Jr., through the conclusion of stage one. The stage win would be the 35-year-old’s first on the season.
Hamlin would win the battle off pit road and start first at the beginning of stage two on lap 86. While Truex Jr. would retake the lead via the inside lane on lap 97, a Bubba Wallace spin through turn four would bring out the caution.
After taking only two tires, Brad Keselowski would win the race off pit road and would have control of the lead on the restart. While Truex Jr. would side draft off Keselowski on the high lane, Keselowski’s side draft of his own would clear the 40-year-old and maintain the lead.
The inside lane would give Truex Jr. the side draft necessary to overtake Keselowski, as he would clear the No. 2 Ford for the top position on lap 115. A Chris Buescher caution on the backstretch would bring all the cars into pit road and would see Truex Jr’s. 29-lap stretch in first come to an end.
Ryan Blaney would win the race off pit road and maintain the lead through the conclusion of stage two. Keselowski would overtake his Penske teammate on the final lap of the stage to pick up his fifth stage win of the season.
Hamlin would win the battle off pit road and would clear Chase Elliott and Busch. At the restart, however, the caution would again come out on the backstretch, as Logano would break loose and collect Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson in the process.
The restart on lap 186 would bring out a red flag, as Ryan Newman and Christopher Bell would get loose, collect Ryan Preece and cause Preece to violently make contact with the inside wall.
After another restart, followed by another Ryan Newman caution, William Byron, who stayed out under the yellow, would take the lead and maintain it on the restart on lap 201 over Hamlin.
Keselowski would quickly overtake the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports four laps later. Both Keselowski and Byron would exchange the lead again until a flat right rear for Corey Lajoie would send the field to pit road.
Two-tire stops for Byron and Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman would give both drivers the top two spots at the restart with 28 laps to go.
John Hunter Nemechek spinning in the backstretch would, yet again, bring a restart with 22 to go, where Harvick and Hamlin would bring great drafts and inside maneuvers to claim first and second, respectively. With 12 to go, Hamlin would take the outside lane riding the fence and clear Harvick. While Keselowski would make one late final push, Hamlin would hold on to claim the victory.
Keselowski would finish second. It is Keselowski’s fourth-straight finish in the top 10.
Harvick would finish fourth. It is Harvick’s 12th top-five finish on the season. His 12 top-five finishes currently lead the field.
Elliott would finish fifth. The finish breaks Elliott’s four-consecutive race streak of finishing outside the top 10.
Almirola would finish sixth. It is Almirola’s eighth-consecutive finish inside the top 10.
The Cup Series returns Aug. 2 for a race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Coverage will begin at 3:00 p.m. EST and will air on NBC Sports Network.
Full race results: