Kansas Speedway hosts a NASCAR doubleheader this weekend with both the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in action.
Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 is the final race in the Round of 12 for the Cup Series Playoffs. Four drivers will be eliminated from the championship when the checkered flag waves Sunday afternoon with the remaining eight moving on to the penultimate round.
Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer and William Byron enter Kansas all below the cutline and are driving for their playoff lives on Sunday.
“Just head out west to Kansas now and try to get a win out there,” said Elliott, who fell 22 points out of the final Playoff spot despite coming back from a crash to finish ninth at Talladega last week. “You have to have the mindset to go out there and control what we can control and do everything we can to get a win. That’s about all we can do.”
Bowyer is 24 points out and would like nothing more than to finally score a win at his home track in Kansas to remain in the championship picture.
“We know what we have to do this weekend,” Bowyer said. “We need to get stage points, a great finish and maybe even a win.”
Brad Keselowski was victorious when the series first visited Kansas earlier this year.
Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 opens up the Round of 8 for the Xfinity Series. Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Noah Gragson remain in the playoffs with the bottom four of the grid eliminated after the third race of the round at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Through 29 races, Custer has seven wins, 15 top fives, 21 top-10 finishes and has led 818 laps. However, he’ll need to change his performance at Kansas where in three career starts he has a best series finish of 19th.
“If we keep our heads up at these tracks that haven’t been kind to us in the past, then our luck is sure to turn around at some point and our goal is for that to happen this weekend in Kansas,” said Custer, who won at Dover in the last series race.
“(Crew Chief) Mike Shiplett has a great track record here in the last three races as he won this race last year, along with finishing fifth (2016) and second (2017), so that will help our mindset as we head into this weekend.”
Gragson starts the round as the eighth seed and is 12 points below the cutline. He’ll make his first series start at Kansas on Saturday.
“We’ve kept this momentum on our side through the first round of the Playoffs and hopefully we can keep that going on Saturday and put ourselves in a really good position as the final four gets closer,” Gragson said. “I’m ready to get going and go fight for a chicken dinner.”