NASCAR Playoffs Sunday: The Eckel 4 pick Hollywood Casino 400 from Kansas Speedway – cut to Fastest Four nears
Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas Speedway, 3 p.m. TV: NBCSN
Kyle Larson is in, but three spots remain in the NASCAR Cup Championship as the circuit heads to the Kansas Speedway Sunday for the Hollywood Casino 400.
Larson qualified for the “Final 4’’ Championship with last week’s win in Charlotte. Who will join him this week, or will Larson, the 9-4 favorite, win again and leave it up to points for the other qualifiers?
The Round of Eight is in the second of its three races Sunday with next week’s trip to Martinsville, Va. the final leg. The Championship will be in Phoenix in two weeks.
Here’s how The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis see Sunday’s race. Hint: They like Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kyle Busch (15-2): Three of “The 4’’ like “Rowdy’’ this week, with “Tobacco Road’’ and “The Dr.’’ putting him on top. Busch won at Kansas during the regular season for his second career win here. He currently sits at No. 4 on the points board just eight points ahead of Chase Elliott for the final spot. Look for a big race from him Sunday.
Denny Hamlin (6-1): Busch’s Gibbs Racing teammate has three wins at Kansas, including one each of the last two years. Again three of “The 4’’ have Hamlin, with one putting him on top to win. Hamlin is currently third in points, but is just one point ahead of Busch and just nine ahead of Elliott for the cutoff. It would not be a surprise to see him on Victory Lane.
Ryan Blaney (9-1): “Left Turn’’ was on his own here with the Team Penske driver, who currently sits in second place — eight points ahead of Hamlin. Blaney has driven well all season, but has never won at Kansas and has had four finishes here of 20th or worse. None of that mattered to the Maverick “Left Turn’’.
Martin Truex Jr. (9-1): The New Jersey native and third Gibbs Racing driver in the final eight has two wins at Kansas and has finished in the top 10 in 13 of his 26 races here. Two of “The 4’’ mentioned Truex, who needs a good showing here. He’s currently in seventh place, 22 points behind the cutoff. But a win and he’s in.
Longshot Play: Joey Logano (16-1): He’s 43 points down, so he needs a win and he has three at Kansas.