GFT Facts & Stats Friday: NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
10 min readSep 8, 2023

8 September 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

KANSAS CITY, KS — The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas for the second of three races in the Round of 16. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is the first Playoff driver to earn his spot in the Round of 12 with his victory last weekend at Darlington, leaving 11 spots still up for grabs. Four drivers will not move on to the Round of 12, and the contenders currently under the cutline heading into this weekend are 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (-1 point), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (-2 points), JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-4 points) and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell (-19 points). Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell is currently in the 12th and final transfer spot on points.

Race 2 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 — Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (Image Credit: Go Full Throttle Digital)

Kansas Speedway marks the midway point of the Playoffs’ Round of 16

After an eventful NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs opener at the historic Darlington Raceway, the 16 postseason contenders turn their attention to the only 1.5-mile track in the round — Kansas Speedway — for the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, September 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Hollywood Casino 400
Kansas Speedway
Sunday, September 10
3 p.m. ET
TV: USA, 2:30 p.m. ET / Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)

The Purse: $8,806,315
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps)
Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80)
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165)
Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS (Image Credit: kansesspeedway.com/Getty Images)

The 2023 season marks the second-time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ second race has been hosted by Kansas Speedway. Kansas (2022–2023) is the fourth different track in NASCAR Cup Series history to host the second race of the Playoffs; joining Dover Motor Speedway (2004–2010), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2011–2017) and Richmond Raceway (2018–2021).

A total of 14 different drivers have won the second race of the Playoffs, led by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson with three wins (2005, 2009, 2010); followed by Kyle Busch (2017, 2018), Matt Kenseth (2013, 2015) and Martin Truex Jr. (2019, 2021) with two victories each.

Last season, 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace became the first non-Playoff driver to win the second race on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ schedule (2004–2022). Wallace was ranked 20th in the standings at the time of the win.

Four non-Playoff drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway. In 2004, Joe Nemechek became the first non-Playoff driver to win the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway. He was ranked 21st in the point standings at the time of the win. In 2006, NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway and was ranked 11th in point standings at the time of the victory — the first spot outside the postseason. In 2007, Greg Biffle won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway and was ranked 14th in points at the time of the win. And last season Bubba Wallace added his name to the list with his victory at Kansas Speedway; he was ranked 20th in points.

The worst finish in a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway by a driver that went on to win the championship later that same season was 17th by last season’s champion Team Penske’s Joey Logano. The Kansas Playoff race was the second race of the 2022 postseason schedule.

The worst finish by a driver in the second race on the NASCAR Cup Playoffs schedule that went on to win the title that same season was:

· At Dover Motor Speedway (2004–2010) — the 2005 series champion Tony Stewart finished 18th.

· At New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2011–2017) — the 2015 series champion Kyle Busch finished 37th.

· At Richmond Raceway (2018–2021) — the 2018 series champion Joey Logano finished 14th.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 2023 — 16 competitors who will compete for the championship (Image Credit: NASCAR Digital)

Playoff Round of 12 Clinch Scenarios: Kansas Speedway

Californian Kyle Larson and the №5 Hendrick Motorsports team can sleep easy over these next two weeks after taking the win in the Playoff Round of 16 opener at Darlington Raceway last Sunday. With Larson clinching his spot in the next round, only 11 of the 12 spots remain as the NASCAR Cup Series arrives at Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 (Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) — one of two chances left to clinch a spot in the Round of 12.

Already Clinched

The following driver has clinched a spot in the 12-driver field of the next round: Kyle Larson.

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 11th winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain or Joey Logano. William Byron: Would clinch with 53 points (55 points if Reddick, Buescher, Hamlin or Truex Jr. wins, needs help if Busch, Keselowski, Blaney, Chastain or Logano win).

· Tyler Reddick: Could only clinch with help

· Chris Buescher: Could only clinch with help

· Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help

· Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help

· Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help

· Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help

· Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help

· Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help

· Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Christopher Bell or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 10th winless driver in the standings.

· William Byron: Could only clinch with help

· Tyler Reddick: Could only clinch with help

· Chris Buescher: Could only clinch with help

· Denny Hamlin: Could only clinch with help

· Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help

· Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help

· Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help

· Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help

· Ross Chastain: Could only clinch with help

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael McDowell.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 2023 (Image Credit: NASCAR Digital)

Playoff Bubble: Outside Looking In After One Race

With just two races to go in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 16, tensions are rising as only one of the 16-drivers this postseason have locked themselves into the next round — Kyle Larson.

Currently Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron holds the top spot in the Playoff standings after 2023 Regular Season Champion, Martin Truex Jr., struggled at Darlington dropping him to sixth in the postseason points. Byron is 45 points up on the Round of 12 cutoff, while Truex is 25 points above the cutline.

Four drivers are outside the Playoffs Round of 12 cutoff and chasing Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in the 12th and final transfer position to the next round on points — 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace (-1 point), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick (-2 points), JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-4 points) and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell (-19 points).

Of the four drivers below the Round of 12 cutline, Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell has the biggest hill to climb as he is currently 19 points behind Christopher Bell in 12th. McDowell has made 24 series starts at Kansas posting a best finish of 13th in 2021. Just above McDowell is JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse in 15th, only four points behind Bell in 12th place. Stenhouse has made 21 series starts at Kansas, but has just one top-10 finish (eighth). The next two drivers below the cutline Wallace (-1) and Harvick (-2) are former winners at Kansas. Bubba Wallace won this event last season and veteran Kevin Harvick has won at Kansas three times (2013, 2016, 2018).

Top 16 Playoff Driver’s Cup Series Career Performances at Kansas Speedway

Looking to this weekend at Kansas Speedway, half (eight) of the 16-driver Playoff field are former winners at the 1.5-mile track; including Denny Hamlin (four wins), Joey Logano (three wins), Kevin Harvick (three wins), Martin Truex Jr. (two wins), Kyle Busch (two wins), Brad Keselowski (two wins), Bubba Wallace (one win) and Kyle Larson (one win).

The Rundown: NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway

A staple in the NASCAR Cup Series postseason since the inception of the Playoffs in 2004, Kansas Speedway has provided some great side-by-side racing and this weekend’s Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, September 10 at 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, shouldn’t disappoint.

Groundbreaking for Kansas Speedway was held on May 25, 1999 and the official opening of the 1.5-mile paved four-turn track was in 2001 with the first events being an ARCA Menards Series race and an ARCA Menards Series West race on the same day — June 2. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway was on September 30, 2001 and the race was won by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon.

For the most part Kansas Speedway has remained unchanged since it was built, but did undergo a repave during the 2012 season, between the April and October events, adding variable banking in the corners (17 to 20 degrees).

In total there have been 35 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway, one event from 2001–2010 and two races per year since 2011. The 35 Cup races have produced 19 different pole winners and 18 different race winners.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Kansas Speedway with five poles (fall 2013, 2014 sweep, spring 2018 and spring 2019). A total of nine of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas Speedway pole winners are active this weekend.

Of the 18 different NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Kansas Speedway, 11 have won multiple races at the 1.5-mile track. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Kansas Speedway with four victories (2012, 2019, 2020, 2023). A total of nine of the 18 NASCAR Cup Series Kansas Speedway winners are active this weekend.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is the most recent winner at Kansas Speedway, taking the series-lead in wins at the 1.5-mile track back in May.

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR Cup Series milestones to watch for this season — Below is a look at some of the upcoming anticipated NASCAR Cup Series milestones to watch for as the 2023 season closes out its final nine races.

Starts

Drivers that are expected to make milestone starts during this season are:

Chase Briscoe — 100th NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway (9/10)

Justin Haley — 100th NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway (9/10)

Martin Truex Jr. — 650th NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway (9/16)

Ryan Blaney — 300th NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway (9/24)

Erik Jones — 250th NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway (10/1)

Daniel Suarez — 250th NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

Ryan Preece — 150th NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

Ty Gibbs — 50th NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway (10/29)

Denny Hamlin — 650th NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix Raceway (11/5)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — 400th NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix Raceway (11/5)

Wins

Driver Wins

Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in career wins with 63, followed by Kevin Harvick (60), Denny Hamlin (50), Brad Keselowski (35), Martin Truex Jr. (34), Joey Logano (32), and Kyle Larson (22).

Organization Wins

Closing in on NASCAR Cup Series win number 300, Hendrick Motorsports currently sits at 299 team wins at NASCAR’s highest level — the most all-time in the Cup Series. Note: HMS has 347 wins across all national series, which is second-most all-time.

Hendrick Motorsports leads all active NASCAR Cup Series organizations in wins with 299, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing (206), RFK Racing (141), Team Penske (137), Richard Childress Racing (116), Wood Brothers Racing (99), Stewart-Haas Racing (69), Trackhouse Racing (5), 23XI Racing (4), Front Row Motorsports (4), JTG Daugherty Racing (2), Kaulig Racing (1), Spire Motorsports (1).

Wood Brothers Racing is looking for their 100th NASCAR Cup Series win this weekend at Kansas.

Manufacturer Wins

Closing in on NASCAR Cup Series win number 850, Chevrolet currently has 846 wins — the most all-time in the Cup Series. Ford has the second most wins all-time in the Cup Series at 712 and Toyota has the fifth-most all-time at 177 (behind Dodge at 213 and Plymouth at 189).

Week 29 GFT Manufacturers Box Scores after the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington (Image Credit: Go Full Throttle Digital)

Chevrolet = 16
Toyota = 8
Ford = 8
Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams with 10 wins

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association