The second race in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs ended the same way the first one did … A spoiler won the race.
The Hollywood Casino 400 Presented by Barstool Sportsbook at Kansas Speedway started off looking as if Playoff drivers might have a good day. However, early on the race again took the appearance as the first Playoff race a week earlier. Playoff drivers found problems in the race.
Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick both had issues that took them out of the race. Other drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch had issues on pit road. Many other issues happened for other Playoff drivers as well. Some were able to salvage a decent day while others were not.
Playoff driver Alex Bowman appeared to be the car to beat through much of the race. He was one of 12 drivers that exchanged the lead of the race 16 times. He was also the driver to lead the most laps with 107 laps out front.
As the race neared the end Bubba Wallace and his team had adjusted the #45 Toyota to make it a contender for the win. He took the lead and only relinquished it to make the final green-flag pit stop. When the pit cycle completed he was once again in the lead.
Bubba held that lead for the final 43 laps to claim the win. This was Bubba’s second career win in the Cup Series and his first at Kansas Speedway. The #45 was the winning car at Kansas earlier this season with Kurt Busch behind the wheel. Bubba’s win also gives the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season its 18th different winner.
Denny Hamlin raced back from his pit road issues to claim a runner-up finish. He was the highest finishing Playoff driver in the race. Playoff drivers Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman finished in third and fourth respectively. Non-playoff driver Martin Truex Jr. was the fifth-place finisher. See the complete race results for the Hollywood Casino 400 Presented by Barstool Sportsbook here.
Following the race at Kansas Speedway Christopher Bell scored enough points to move to the top of the Playoff Standings. He also is the only driver that has clinched a spot in the next round of the post-season. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
Next up is the Round of 16 elimination race for the Playoffs. The Bass Pro Shops Night Race takes place Saturday night (9/17) under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. The four Playoff drivers at the bottom of the Playoff Standings when that race is over will be eliminated from Championship contention.
By: Buck Stevens