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Hollywood Casino 400 Preview: NASCAR Heads Back to Kansas

Jay Arnold previews the Hollywood Casino 400 from Kansas Motor Speedway as NASCAR gets deeper into the 1st Round of the Playoffs.

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After one race in the first round of the NASCAR playoffs, Kyle Larson is the driver who has locked himself into the first round following his win at the Cook Out Southern 500. Next up, NASCAR returns to Kansas for the second time this season as the playoff pressure increases. However, the playoff picture needs a breakdown before we preview the Hollywood Casino 400.

Playoff Picture Headed Into the Hollywood Casino 400

As mentioned above, Kyle Larson locked himself into the second round with his win at Darlington. That means eleven spots remain up for grabs. Take a look at the current standings below.

  1. Kyle Larson – Locked In
  2. William Byron – 45 Points Above Cut Line
  3. Tyler Reddick – 30 Points Above Cut Line
  4. Chris Buescher – 27 Points Above Cut Line
  5. Denny Hamlin – 27 Points Above Cut Line
  6. Martin Truex Jr. – 25 Points Above Cut Line
  7. Kyle Busch – 20 Points Above Cut Line
  8. Brad Keselowski – 18 Points Above Cut Line
  9. Ryan Blaney – 16 Points Above Cut Line
  10. Ross Chastain – 13 Points Above Cut Line
  11. Joey Logano – 3 Points Above Cut Line
  12. Christopher Bell – 1 Point Above Cut Line
  13. Bubba Wallace – 1 Point Below Cut Line
  14. Kevin Harvick – 2 Points Below Cut Line
  15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 4 Points Below Cut Line
  16. Michael McDowell – 19 Points Below Cut Line

With Kansas and Bristol left to trim down the field, it will be interesting to see which teams step up and which teams falter. I still think McDowell and Stenhouse Jr. represent the two drivers most likely to fall out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Harvick showed some real speed at Darlington before being penalized late in the race from the lead for pitting under caution. If SHR can maintain that speed don’t be surprised to see Harvick near the front at both Kansas and Bristol. Bristol in particular is a circuit Harvick should factor in at.

Bubba Wallace sits just one point back of the cut line and dominated the fall Kansas race last year. I don’t know if he’ll have a repeat performance but I’d expect the #23 team to run near the front and give Wallace a real shot to score some points heading into the first round finale.

I’m shifting my initial prediction a bit – I still expect Bubba to advance but I think the struggles and flat-out bad luck of Christopher Bell will prevent Bell from doing so. Additionally, I think Logano falls out of the top 12. With the pressure ramping up, this Sunday’s race should make for a doozy.

Entry List

The 1.5-mile circuits on the NASCAR schedule have provided some of the best racing of the year so far. The first race at Kansas this season saw Denny Hamlin claim victory after contact with Kyle Larson sent the #5 into the wall while the two raced for the lead. The two will likely be factors in the race once again.

As mentioned above, Bubba Wallace won the fall Kansas race last year. He finished top five in the Spring race and should run at the front once again. His 23XI teammate Tyler Reddick, who had a strong points night at Darlington, will slot in near the front as well.

However, my pick for Sunday’s race winner? William Byron. The #24 seems to be most consistent on speed and likely runs near the front again. With a win, Willy B joins his Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson in the second round.

Be sure to check out the weekend schedule below so you don’t miss any on-track action from Kansas Speedway.

Friday 09/08

Fast Track 150 (ARCA Menards Series) – 5:00 p.m. CT on FS1

Kansas Lottery 200 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) – 8:00 p.m. CT on FS1

Saturday 09/09

NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying – 9:35 a.m. CT on USA

NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – 11:45 a.m. CT on USA

Kansas Lottery 300 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) – 2:00 p.m. CT on NBC

Sunday 09/10

Hollywood Casino 400 (NASCAR Cup Series) – 2:00 p.m. CT on USA

Stay locked into Apollo for more NASCAR and F1 Coverage throughout racing season! Follow @CoachJayArnold and @ApolloHOU on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest!

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