2020 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Kansas 2

The NASCAR Cup Series is heading into the final stretch of its long 2020 season. The Round of 8 in the playoffs is here with only four races left in the 2020 season. Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway will kick off the Round of 8, followed by races at Texas Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Phoenix Raceway will host the championship race on Nov. 8.

Kevin Harvick enters the round of 8 as the points leader. He has been the most consistent with nine wins, 19 top-five finishes, and 25 top-10 finishes. He finished fourth in the July race at Kansas and will start fourth on Sunday.

13 points behind him is Denny Hamlin. He has the most stage wins this season with nine and has accumulated seven wins this season, including winning the previous race at Kansas. He passed Harvick and held off Brad Keselowski to pick up his second consecutive win at Kansas as he won last year’s playoff race there. He will start Sunday’s race in seventh.

Speaking of Keselowski, he comes into this race third in the standings and 13 points above the fourth-place driver, Chase Elliott. Keselowski has four wins this season, including a win in the Round of 16 at Richmond Raceway. He has 10 top-five finishes and 20 top-five finishes this season. He looks to find redemption this Sunday as in last year’s race at Kansas, he was eliminated in the Round of 12. He will start eighth on Sunday.

Elliott comes into this race as the last driver in the current top four. He is looking to finally reach the championship race as in each of the last three seasons, Elliott was eliminated in the Round of 8. He finished 12th in July’s Kansas race and will start on the pole in Sunday’s race.

Joey Logano is the first of four drivers heading into the Round of 8 below the cutline. Logano has not been able to go to victory lane since the weekend before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended play as his two wins came in the four pre-COVID races. He has nine top-five finishes, including a second-place finish at the Roval last week, and 17 top-10 finishes. Logano crashed out of July’s Kansas race in the final stage, finishing 35th. He will start second on Sunday.

While Martin Truex Jr. comes into the round of 8 below the cutline, he is in a good position to advance to his fourth-straight championship race. His one victory on the season, the spring race at Martinsville, is the final race before the championship race. Also, he finished third at Kansas this summer, kicking off a string of eight-straight top-five finishes for him. He looks to gain valuable points on Sunday as he starts fifth.

Alex Bowman has struggled since winning at Auto Club Speedway in March and finishing second in the first NASCAR race after COVID-19 suspended play, not winning another race and only securing two top-five finishes. However, he has finished in the top 10 six of the last eight races, securing his place in the round of 8. He finished eighth at Kansas back in July and will start sixth in Sunday’s race.

Rounding out the playoff field is Kurt Busch, who won at his hometown track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to clinch a spot in the Round of 8. His victory helped eliminate his brother, Kyle, who won the Cup Series championship last season. He has one race win with six top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes. He finished ninth in July’s race at Kansas and will start Sunday’s race third.

Coverage for the Hollywood Casino 400 will begin at 2:30 p.m. EST. The stages end on lap 80, lap 160 and the finish on lap 267 with the competition caution coming on lap 25. You can catch the race on NBC and the Motor Racing Network.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/10/14/goodyear-fast-facts-kansas-4/

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