NASCAR Sports Update: Hamlin bounces back at Kansas (7/23/20) By: Josh Scott
Denny Hamlin beat Brad Keselowski by .51 seconds, after taking the lead with eight laps to go, to win the Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts at Kansas Speedway on Thursday. Hamlin captured his fifth win of 2020, his 42nd victory overall. The Chesterfield, VA native came into the evening having finished outside the top 20 in two of the last three races.
Martin Truex Jr finished third, polesitter Kevin Harvick fourth, and Erik Jones fifth. Aric Almirola, rookie Cole Custer, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, and William Byron rounded out the top 10. Austin Dillon finished 27th, 16 laps down, a week after pulling off the upset win on Sunday at Texas.
Kyle Busch led 57 laps en route to capturing the Stage One win, while Keselowski won Stage Two.
Byron took the lead, thanks to a two-tire pit stop, with 30 laps to go, but was quickly overtaken by teammate Alex Bowman. After rookie John-Hunter Nemechek spun five laps later, another restart followed. It was on this restart where Harvick, almost out of nowhere, emerged ahead of both Byron and Bowman, taking the lead. Harvick's lead was short-lived, however, as Hamlin tracked down the points leader, snatched first place away, and never looked back.
A scary crash occurred on lap 183 after rookie Christopher Bell and Ryan Newman made contact in turn two. Both cars slid down the racetrack right into the path of Ryan Preece, who made a sharp left turn to avoid the two cars. In doing so, Preece couldn't avoid taking a huge hit to the backstretch wall, which sent his number 37 car flying into the air. The car almost went upside down. Preece walked away under his own power and, incredibly, suffered no injuries.
The Playoff picture changed dramatically after the 400-mile race, as William Byron now holds the 16th and final spot to make the postseason. The Charlotte, NC native is just 10 points in front of rookie Tyler Reddick. Erik Jones, 14 points back, remains within striking distance as does Jimmie Johnson, 18 points behind.
The Cup Series moves on to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Sunday for the Fox Resort Casino 400 on NBCSN at 3 p.m. Kevin Harvick, last year's winner, will look to win his second in a row at the "Magic Mile". Harvick extends his points lead to 97 over Brad Keselowski, followed by Ryan Blaney, Hamlin, and Chase Elliott.