Kyle Larson earns third consecutive win with Kansas Round of 8 triumph

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Kyle Larson earns third consecutive win with Kansas Round of 8 triumph
© Sean Gardner Getty Images Kyle Larson earns third consecutive win with Kansas Round of 8 triumph Already locked into the Championship 4, Kyle Larson is now 2-for-2 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8, earning his ninth win of the 2021 season in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

RELATED: Unofficial results | Kansas at-track photos

Larson led nine times for 131 laps in the 267-lap Round of 8 middle race at the 1.5-mile oval. It’s the second time this year that Larson has won three races in a row, earning victory at the Charlotte Roval and Texas Motor Speedway in the two weeks prior.

Larson’s teammate, Chase Elliott, tried to chase down the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the closing laps, but a scrape with the wall stalled any momentum he was gaining on Larson. Elliott, the defending Cup Series champion, held on to finish second.

Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and playoff driver Denny Hamlin completed the top five.

After a right-rear tire went down on the No. 12 Team Penske Ford with eight laps remaining in Stage 1, playoff driver Ryan Blaney was setting himself up for a solid rebound when disaster struck following a restart on Lap 224. Blaney was running in the top 10 when Austin Dillon lost control of his car in Turn 2, sliding into Blaney trying to save it. Blaney slammed the outside wall and was forced to retire from the race, finishing 37th.

RELATED: Blaney slams wall at Kansas

Other playoff drivers found trouble in the first stage. Kyle Busch hit the wall and cut down a right-rear tire on Lap 23, which required a stop to pit road for repairs. Busch‘s teammate, Martin Truex Jr., also hit the wall and suffered right-rear tire damage on Lap 53, but was able to salvage a seventh-place finish.

Busch hit the wall again in Stage 2, sustaining more damage to the right rear of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He finished 28th, six laps off the pace.

RELATED: Kyle Busch hits wall at Kansas: ‘It’s killed, it’s done’

Elliott is now 34 points ahead of the elimination line and sits second in the playoff standings, while Hamlin is 32 points ahead and Kyle Busch has a one-point cushion. Despite retiring from the race early, Blaney sits just one point back.

Race winner Larson earned the Stage 1 victory, while his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron took the green-white-checkered flag in Stage 2.

The race was also placed on a brief red-flag period for inclement weather and lightning on Lap 12.

The Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the Round of 8 finale on Oct. 31, the Xfinity 500 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

This story will be updated.

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