The 16 championship hopefuls head to Kansas Speedway for the second leg of the playoffs in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 Presented by Barstool Sportsbook.
Joey Logano raced to the top of the Cup Series standings last week and will attempt to increase his margin at the 1.5-mile intermediate speedway.
The series hasn’t raced on an intermediate track since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in late May, so teams have been trying to gauge advances with the Next Gen car through simulations.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 11, 3 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,338,881
TV: USA, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR (Channel 90)
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
Denny Hamlin (+600 at BetMGM)
Hamlin has more starts at Kansas than any other driver in the field, including victories in 2019 and ’20. The co-favorite as of Friday, Hamlin had drawn 7.1 percent of the winning bets and 14.6 percent of the handle, both second-most at the sportsbook.
Kyle Busch (+600)
Busch is second only to Hamlin in the number of career starts at Kansas among drivers in Sunday’s field (Kurt Busch has the most all-time). Kyle Busch has a pair of wins at the track along with 14 top-10 finishes among 19 starts. He has been backed by 6.2 and 5.2 percent of the action, respectively.
Kyle Larson (+700)
Larson lost three laps while his team worked through a potential engine issue at Darlington. He regained the lead lap and managed to salvage a 12th-place finish. The defending Cup champion enters the Kansas race seventh in the standings and finished second during the spring race at the track.
Larson is third in both total bets (6.8 percent) and handle (12.8 percent).
“I feel like every week has been pretty wild and unpredictable,” said the defending champ at Kansas. “Darlington was maybe a little bit (wilder) than normal compared to other races this year, but I feel like every race this year, the majority of the field has had some sort of issue go on throughout the race.
“As much as I want to say Kansas will be different, I just don’t know. It could be even crazier. But I hope that we can have a smooth week, get some points, and try and put ourselves into a better position as we go to Bristol.”
Chase Elliott (+800)
Elliott, who lost the points lead last week, has been backed by more than twice as many bets as any other driver in the field with 15.0 percent at BetMGM. He also leads with 17.0 percent of the handle supporting him, making Elliott the sportsbook’s biggest liability this week.
Joey Logano (+1400)
Logano grabbed the points lead with a fourth pace at Darlington, but he also had to battle after falling out of the top 10 following a slow pit stop. He leads William Byron by a mere six points and only 49 points separate him from 16th-placed Kevin Harvick by 49 points.
Logano has to like his chances at Kansas, where he has claimed three victories (all in Playoff races) and two poles, making him the all-time leader in wins at the track. The public has been tepid on his chances, however, with Logano drawing only 2.3 percent of the bets and 3.1 percent of the handle.
Kevin Harvick (+1600)
Harvick, who also has three Kansas wins on his resume, trails 12th-place Daniel Suarez by a mere 13 points. He has been backed by 4.5 percent of the bets and 4.4 percent of the handle.
However, it’s Suarez’s longshot odds at +3300 that make him BetMGM’s third-biggest liability while drawing 5.9 and 4.6 percent of the action, respectively. Bettors clearly haven’t been scared off by Suarez having a lone top-10 in 11 career starts at Kansas.