The third stage of the NASCAR Cup Series postseason begins Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
Eight drivers are left in contention for the series title. That list will be trimmed to four after the next three races.
Chase Elliott sits on the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400. He is coming off a victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.
Since the playoffs began September 6, five drivers have made it to Victory Lane, with Kevin Harvick being the only racer to do so twice. Harvick has three victories at Kansas, with the most recent occurring in 2018.
Harvick and Elliott are two of six competitors still alive in the NASCAR postseason who have won at Kansas since the start of the 2014 season.
Hollywood Casino 400 Information
Date: Sunday, October 18
Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports app or NBCSports.com.
Denny Hamlin: +400 (bet $100 to win $400)
Kevin Harvick: +400
Martin Truex Jr.: +550
Chase Elliott: +600
Brad Keselowski: +800
Ryan Blaney: +1200
Kyle Busch: +1400
Joey Logano: +1400
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Hamlin appears to have a slight edge on Harvick because of his back-to-back wins at Kansas.
The No. 11 car driver is second behind Harvick in the points standings and is likely the biggest threat to the No. 4 car's championship hopes. Hamlin owns two more stage wins than Harvick this season, but the Stewart-Haas Racing driver possesses more victories, laps led, top-five and top-10 finishes.
In July, Hamlin led the most laps on the way to his third victory at the midwestern speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing was in control of the summer race at Kansas, as Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. combined to lead 153 of the 267 laps.
Busch is the only member of the trio who did not advance to the final eight. He lost out on that spot after his brother, Kurt Busch, captured victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the end of September.
While Harvick could challenge the Gibbs Toyotas, Brad Keselowski might be the team's biggest competition Sunday. He was in front for 30 laps in July, won at Kansas in 2019 and could use a victory to shrink the gap between himself, Harvick and Hamlin going into Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 25.
Harvick holds a 13-point advantage over Hamlin, and Keselowski is 32 points back of the series leader. The trio has combined for 20 victories out of 32 in 2020.
Elliott sits eight points behind Keselowski, and a high finish could help him gain separation over Joey Logano in the race for the top four.
After the next three races, the list of championship contenders will be cut in half ahead of the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Elliott carries a five-point advantage over Logano into the round of eight following his triumph on the Charlotte road course. The Hendrick Motorsports driver could have an advantage starting on the pole since two of the past six winners at Kansas won from the front starting position.
Truex, Alex Bowman and Busch are the other three drivers still alive in the championship hunt. If one of those drivers wins, he would secure a spot in the final four and put more pressure on Elliott and Logano to advance through points.
While it is possible that a driver outside the playoff places is triumphant, it seems unlikely Sunday given the dominance of the circuit's top racers at Kansas.