Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas

Reddick claims Sunday playoff race at Kansas

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In a thrilling NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, Tyler Reddick emerged as the winner of the Hollywood Casino 400, leaving his car owner frustrated at the end of the second Playoff race of the season.

Reddick secured victory by beating Denny Hamlin from Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing co-owner by a mere 0.327 seconds. Hamlin had led for 63 laps and had more than a two-second lead over Reddick when Chris Buescher, a playoff driver, experienced a right-rear tire blowout on Lap 261 of a scheduled 267, triggering the ninth and final caution of the race.

Divergent pit strategies in the closing laps created an opening for Reddick, allowing him to secure an automatic entry into the Playoffs’ Round of 12. Daniel Su├írez opted to stay out on tires that were 31 laps old and inherited the lead. Meanwhile, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano opted for two-tire stops and restarted second, third, and fourth, respectively.

Reddick restarted from the third row on the inside, and as the field exited Turn 4 on the restart lap, he made a bold move to the bottom of the track, taking the lead just before the start/finish line.

On the final lap, Erik Jones moved up the track on the backstretch, momentarily blocking Hamlin’s progress, allowing Reddick to secure his second victory of the season, his first at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, and the fifth of his career.

After emerging second in a race where he was bested by a car he owns, Denny Hamlin accepted the defeat with grace. His second-place finish places him 49 points ahead of his teammate Martin Truex Jr., the first driver below the current Round of 12 cut line.

The top five was rounded out by Kyle Larson in fourth place, who had led the most laps with 99 and won the first stage of the race, and Joey Logano in fifth place, thanks to a two-tire pit strategy by his crew chief, Paul Wolfe. Chase Elliott finished in sixth place, followed by Kyle Busch, pole winner Christopher Bell, and Brad Keselowski, who won the second stage.

The race had significant consequences for playoff drivers now facing potential elimination next Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Tragedy struck Regular Season Champion Martin Truex Jr. early in the race, as he experienced a cut tire and slammed into the wall in Turn 3, just four laps into the event. With his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s suspension beyond repair, Truex retired to the garage in 36th place, falling seven points below the Round of 12 cut line.

Bubba Wallace’s hopes of advancing to the Round of 12 took a severe hit when his right rear tire exploded while he was running in second place on Lap 108. This sent his No. 23 Toyota into the outside wall. Wallace attempted repairs on pit road, losing three laps in the process, and ultimately finished in 32nd place. He now sits 14th in the Playoff standings, 19 points behind Kevin Harvick in 12th.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had two brushes with the outside wall and finished 23rd, leaving him 22 points behind Harvick. Michael McDowell, who finished 26th, is now 40 points below the cut line and realistically needs a victory at Bristol to advance to the Round of 12.

The next race in the Cup Series is the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. This 500-lap race will conclude the Round of 16 in the Cup Series Playoffs, with four drivers being eliminated from title contention at the checkered flag. Post-race technical inspection confirmed Reddick as the race winner without any issues.