NASCAR at Kansas 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines

Joe TanseySeptember 10, 2022

NASCAR at Kansas 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines

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    The 16 drivers competing in the NASCAR Cup Series postseason enter Kansas Speedway with a level playing field after none of them earned a win in the first playoff race.

    Erik Jones' surprise win at Darlington took away the chance for one of the playoff drivers to automatically advance to the round of 12.

    Sunday's race at Kansas is the second of three round-of-16 races. A win carries even more value because only two drivers that can make it through to the round of 12 by way of a victory.

    The points standings reshuffled after Darlington. Joey Logano is 38 points above the cut line, while regular-season champion Chase Elliott dropped to ninth place and 14 points ahead of the 12th spot.

    Austin Cindric, Austin Dillon, Chase Briscoe and Kevin Harvick come into Kansas on the wrong end of the cut line, but a win or a strong performance could change their playoff outlook going into Bristol.

    The one certainty for Sunday is that a repeat winner will not be crowned at Kansas. Kurt Busch won the May race at the track. Busch has missed the last six races while dealing with symptoms from a concussion suffered at Pocono.

Hollywood Casino 400 Odds

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    Denny Hamlin (+550; bet $100 to win $550)

    Kyle Busch (+600)

    Martin Truex Jr. (+700)

    Chase Elliott (+750)

    Kyle Larson (+800)

    Christopher Bell (+1000)

    Tyler Reddick (+1200)

    Ross Chastain (+1200)

    Ryan Blaney (+1600)

    Kevin Harvick (+1600)

    William Byron (+1700)

    Joey Logano (+2000)

    Bubba Wallace (+2000)

    Ty Gibbs (+3500)

    Daniel Suarez (+3500)

    Alex Bowman (+3500)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Entire Playoff Field Still in Danger of Missing Cut

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    The wretched weekends suffered by Chase Elliott and a few other drivers at Darlington proved how quick fortunes can change in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

    Elliott went from first place entering Darlington to ninth place and in potential of falling further if he does not finish another race. Elliott finished dead last at Darlington.

    Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch also did not finish last weekend's race, and Chase Briscoe finished four laps behind race winner Erik Jones.

    Only six of the 16 playoff qualifiers finished inside the top 10 at Darlington, and that led to a reshuffling of the standings.

    Joey Logano owns a six-point edge over William Byron in first place. Denny Hamlin is the only other driver 30 points ahead of the projected cut line in third. Hamlin is eight points back of Logano.

    All it takes is one bad race from a driver in the top 12 and a solid run from someone in the bottom four to rearrange the standings further heading into the final round-of-16 race at Bristol.

    Logano, Byron and Hamlin are the safest drivers going into Kansas, and they all need to replicate their top-10 results from Darlington to feel even safer going into Bristol.

    A second straight win from a non-playoff driver would leave everything up for grabs at Bristol. The playoff participants will try to avoid that situation, and there are some drivers who come into Kansas with more expectations based on their performances at the track in May.

Can Toyota Replicate Kansas Success from Earlier in the Season?

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    Toyota was the dominant manufacturer during the May race at Kansas.

    All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars finished inside the top six. Kurt Busch took 23XI Racing to Victory Lane, and Bubba Wallace landed in ninth in the other 23XI car.

    Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch are the playoff drivers among the Toyota fleet. They should benefit the most from Toyota's success at the track earlier in the season.

    Toyota started the playoffs in good form at Darlington, but the manufacturer's results were spoiled late in the race when Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. both suffered engine issues.

    Hamlin tried to chase down Erik Jones on the final few laps, but he was unable to achieve that and settled for a second-place finish.

    Toyota's runs last weekend, combined with the Kansas results from May, could make it the favored manufacturer to find Victory Lane on Sunday.

    Ford and Chevrolet have some improvements to make to chase down the Gibbs and 23XI cars.

    Ford did not have a single car inside the top 10 at Kansas in May. Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman put Chevrolets into the top 10. Larson, Chastain and Bowman are playoff drivers.

    If Ford can't find pace at Kansas, the likes of Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick may have to wait until Bristol to land spots in the round of 12.

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