The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is underway at Kansas Speedway for the final playoff race in the Round of 12. When the checkered flag flies Sunday, four drivers will be eliminated from championship contention.

We will have live highlights and up to the minute analysis from today’s race on this page. Please feel free to follow along with our live blog below.

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Stage 1: Kyle Busch wins, Kyle Larson facing elimination

Kyle Busch won Stage 1 under caution as Kyle Larson suffered heartbreaking engine failure. Busch entered the race below the cutline and earned a potential bonus point for the Round of 8 with the green-and-white checkered.

Martin Truex Jr. sped away from the pack as soon as the green flag flew after starting on the pole. The No. 78 was able to build more than a four-second lead over second-place Kyle Busch before the competition caution came out on lap 30.

Truex joined elite company in Stage 1, becoming the 12th driver in NASCAR history to lead 2,000 laps in a season. He joins Cale Yarborough (7), Darrell Waltrip (7), Dale Earnhardt (4), Richard Petty (3), Rusty Wallace (3), Jeff Gordon (3), Bobby Allison (2), Kevin Harvick (2), David Pearson (1), Jimmie Johnson (1), and Dale Jarrett (1).

On the restart, Truex went below the white line on the track and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. While the No. 78 was leading at the time of the restart violation, Kyle Busch took over once Truex came down pit road. Even though Harvick was below the line as well, NASCAR explained that since the No. 4 followed the leader Truex, he was not penalized.

Truex’s longtime girlfriend and cancer fighter Sherry Pollex was not pleased with the result.

Brett Moffitt then brought out the caution, getting into the wall with 35 laps to go in the stage. This allowed Ryan Blaney, who started the race last after being penalized post-qualifying, to move inside the top five by staying out while the leaders pit.

Keselowski spun his tires upon the restart, forfeiting the lead to Blaney with less than 30 to go. Busch eventually passed Blaney with 26 to go for the race lead thanks in part to fresher tires. 

Kyle Larson had to bring his Chevrolet into pit road with less than 15 laps to go due to engine issues.Just a few laps later, the engine blew and Larson had to bring his car into the garage, essentially ending his championship hopes. Larson won four races this season and was one of the favorites to win the title heading into the playoffs. 

Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway Stage 1 results

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Jamie McMurray
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Martin Truex Jr.
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Erik Jones

BOLD – indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 driver

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