Bubba Wallace Becomes 2nd Playoff Spoiler at Kansas

The playoffs got off to a rocky start in Darlington last week when 9 of the 16 championship-eligible drivers encountered issues (either due to mechanical failures or on-track accidents), which allowed non-playoff-driver Erik Jones to steal a victory. It’s fair to say that fans and teams expected a milder race at Kansas since it is a standard 1.5-mile oval track. However, that was not the case as nearly half the championship drivers struggled again and allowed another non-playoff driver to pick up the win.

LAP 1: The #8 of Tyler Reddick started in pole position beside Joey Logano in the #22 on the front row. Reddick was immediately passed by Logano in Turn 2.

LAP 3: Third-place starter, Alex Bowman in the #48 Chevrolet Camaro, powered past Logano on the outside line to take the top spot and pull away to a comfortable lead. It became clear that Bowman had a fast car and was capable of dominating the race.

CAUTION – LAP 26: The yellow flag waved for a competition caution after rain the night before had cleaned rubber and grip off the track. Reddick narrowly won the race off pit road since he had the first-place pit stall and continued to lead after the restart, though Bowman remained closely in second.

CAUTION – LAP 33: While racing for the 3rd position, the #1 of Ross Chastain leaned on the left side of the #45 of Bubba Wallace, shoving the #45 up the track as they exited Turn 4. Chastain pushed Wallace in front of the #4 of Kevin Harvick, who was racing on the top line behind them. Harvick tried to check up, but his car got loose and made heavy contact with the wall which resulted in severe damage that ended his day for the second race in a row. Harvick will enter the final race of the first round of the playoffs in a must-win situation.

CAUTION – LAP 65: Tyler Reddick made contact with the SAFER barrier when the right-front tire on his #8 Camaro went flat.  Reddick’s car sustained damage to the right side which forced him to retire from the race. With the #8 out of the lead, the #20 of Christopher Bell picked up P1 and held off Ryan Blaney on the restart.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 80: Christopher Bell won the stage and collected a playoff point. Behind him – Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Bubba Wallace rounded out the Top 5 at the end of the stage. Alex Bowman won the race off pit road to take the lead.

CAUTION – LAP 89: Shortly after the restart, the caution came out when the #23 of Ty Gibbs experienced a flat tire and hit the outside wall in a similar fashion to Tyler Reddick. Gibbs was forced to retire from the race due to damage which marked his first DNF since taking over for Kurt Busch, who is currently out of the car with a concussion.

CAUTION – LAP 111: The tire problems continued when Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the #47Camaro hit the wall as a result of a flat right-front tire. Unlike Reddick and Gibbs, Stenhouse was able to continue racing, though he was several laps down.

CAUTION – LAP 114: While racing 4-wide in the midfield, the #43 of Erik Jones attempted to shoot the middle between the #21 of Harrison Burton and the #7 of Corey Lajoie. Burton and Lajoie began to close the space, which caused them both to spin off the nose of the #43 and hit the wall in Turn 1. The incident also collected the #10 of Aric Almirola, though he escaped with minimal damage. Burton and Lajoie, on the other hand, both retired from the race.

CAUTION – LAP 137: Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota Camry brought out the 8th caution of the day when he got loose coming out of Turn 4. Busch’s car slid sideways and into the infield grass where both right-side tires blew out. Busch was able to continue racing after a pitstop for new tires, however, he would go on to finish 2 laps down in 26th place.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 165: Alex Bowman dominated the stage and collected the playoff point for winning the segment. Behind him – Christopher Bell, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Chase Elliott completed the Top 5. Bowman held on to the lead on pit road and continued to dominate after the restart to begin the final stage.

LAP 200: As Bowman’s car started to struggle on old tires, and the long-run speed of Bubba Wallace’s #45 came into effect, Wallace was able to get around Bowman and take the top spot.

LAP 240: After green-flag pitstops cycled through, Wallace remained in P1 with a 5-second lead over Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin, who were trying to catch up to the leader.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 267: Hamlin managed to pass Bell with 15 laps to go, but was unable to get close enough to the #45 to take the lead, allowing Wallace to score the 2nd win of his Cup career. Ironically, the last time the #45 was in Victory Lane at Kansas was earlier this season with Kurt Busch behind the wheel.


  1. Bubba Wallace
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Christopher Bell
  4. Alex Bowman
  5. Martin Truex Jr
  6. William Byron
  7. Ross Chastain
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Ryan Blaney
  10. Daniel Suarez
  11. Chase Elliott
  12. Austin Cindric
  13. Chse Briscoe
  14. Austin Dillon
  15. Chris Buescher
  16. Michael McDowell
  17. Joey Logano
  18. Noah Gragson
  19. Justin Haley
  20. Ty Dillon
  21. Aric Almirola
  22. Cole Custer
  23. Todd Gilliland
  24. Landon Cassill
  25. Brad Keselowski
  26. Kyle Busch
  27. Cody Ware
  28. JJ Yeley
  29. Erik Jones
  30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  31. BJ McLeod
  32. Harrsion Burton
  33. Corey LaJoie
  34. Ty Gibbs
  35. Tyler Reddick
  36. Kevin Harvick