Ham­lin wins chaotic NASCAR cut-off race at Kansas Speed­way

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Denny Ham­lin was sur­rounded by Joe Gibbs Rac­ing team­mates at the front on the fi­nal restart, and that put Chase El­liott in the most dif­fi­cult and pre­car­i­ous of sit­u­a­tions.

Some­how, he fig­ured, he needed to find a way to beat them all to ad­vance in NASCAR’s play­offs.

It turned out sec­ond place was good enough.

Ham­lin roared away with a push from be­hind from team­mate Kyle Busch on the sec­ond shot at a green-white-check­ered fin­ish, and El­liott was un­able to chase him down. But deep in the field, Brad Ke­selowski was go­ing back­ward, and the spots he lost in the elim­i­na­tion race at Kansas Speed­way were enough to send El­liott through in the fi­nal cut­off spot to the round of eight.

Ham­lin won the race. El­liott felt al­most as if he did.

“You have to stay fight­ing in these things, es­pe­cially with the late-race restarts,” he said. “Just ex­cited we get to fight an­other race. Back up against the wall, to come out here and bat­tle for the win, that’s what you have to do when you’re in the po­si­tion we were in.”

In a bit of irony, it was Ke­selowski who helped bring out the cau­tion in the first over­time when he got into Daniel Suarez and trig­gered a wreck that col­lected team­mate Joey Logano. The field was near­ing the start-fin­ish line but the cau­tion light came on be­fore the leader took the white flag.

If Ham­lin had crossed a split-sec­ond quicker, the race would have been over and Ke­selowski safe.

“I pushed as hard as I knew how and didn’t quite do good enough on the last restart and that was it,” Ke­selowski said. “We clawed as hard as we could and there were times it looked like we were go­ing to be fine and times it didn’t. In the end it didn’t work out.”

Kyle Busch ul­ti­mately fin­ished third, fol­lowed by Kurt Busch and Wil­liam By­ron. But the key was Ke­selowski, who dropped from 13th to 19th on the fi­nal restart and out of the next round of the play­offs.

AFP-Yonhap

Denny Ham­lin, right, driver of the #11 FedEx Of­fice Toy­ota, cel­e­brates in Vic­tory Lane af­ter win­ning the Mon­ster En­ergy NASCAR Cup Se­ries Hol­ly­wood Casino 400 at Kansas Speed­way in Kansas City, Kan., Sun­day.

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