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The Best Kansas Speedway NASCAR Races You Can Watch on NASCAR Classics

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Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

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NASCAR’s playoffs might kick off tonight from Darlington Raceway, but in one weeks, the stars of the Cup Series invade the Heartland at Kansas Speedway for the second of the 3 race Round of 16.

Since the first Cup race back in September 2001, fans from all across the country continue to fill the grandstands of the 1.5 mile facility in Kansas City, KS.

To gear up for Kansas, NASCAR Classics has quite the assortment of races to choose from. Here are some of the best Kansas races throughout the years.

2001 Protection One 400: The First Kansas Cup Race Ever

When Kansas Speedway first broke ground in May 1999, it was only a matter of time before NASCAR would storm into the Midwest. On September 30, 2001, NASCAR waved the very first green flag in front of a hearty crowd of Midwestern NASCAR fans.

In a race of attrition featured 13 caution flags, eventual season champion Jeff Gordon held off an up-comer named Ryan Newman to score the victory that afternoon, adding another win to his season total. Gordon’s momentum continued as he went on to win his 4th and final championship that season.

2011 STP 400: NASCAR’s 1st Season Hosting 2 Cup Series Races

A little over 10 years following that first Kansas Cup race, NASCAR gave the track an additional race date beginning in the 2011 season. The STP 400 that year, held in June, proved to be a scorcher not only for those in the grandstands but also the finish as well.

In his first full season driving the famous #2 car for Penske Racing, Brad Keselowski, under the guidance of crew chief Paul Wolfe, stretched his final tank of fuel to outlast Dale Earnhardt Jr. score at the time an upset victory at Kansas Speedway.

This win would propel Keselowski on an eventual summer stretch which saw him make a playoff berth and put him in position to win his first Cup title in 2012.

2015 Hollywood Casino 400: Beginning of Matt Kenseth vs. Joey Logano

Nobody had quite a postseason like Joey Logano in 2015. Loagno’s #22 Penske team didn’t have smooth sailing playoffs though, as he ruffled a few feathers along the way.

The defending race winner at Kansas Speedway from 2014 found himself right on the bumper of Matt Kenseth in the waning laps. The two made contact entering Turn 1, sending Kenseth’s #20 Camry into a slide, ultimately taking him out of contention for the race win.

Logano would hold off the field on a final restart to score his second straight Kansas win in the fall race, making an enemy of Matt Kenseth.

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2017 Hollywood Casino 400: Mile and A Half Martin Dominates, Playoff Chaos

The 2017 edition of the Hollywood Casino 400 featured so many storylines from start to finish. For starters, multiple Cup champions found themselves fighting for a spot in the Round of 8 including Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth.

Johnson was able to overcome a spin through the infield grass, along with sneaking through a massive crash on a restart involving playoff driver Matt Kenseth.

Martin Truex Jr. held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch to score the season sweep at Kansas Speedway and continue his march towards his 1st ever Cup championship.

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2022 Hollywood Casino 400: Bubba Spoils Playoff Picture

The Next-Gen car has proven to help the overall on-track racing for the Cup Series and certainly made the case this time around as NASCAR rolled into Kansas Speedway in the fall of 2022.

With all of the unknowns with the Next Gen car, nobody could’ve expected that Bubba Wallace would score one of the most significant victories of his Cup career in the fall playoff race at Kansas.

Wallace, a non-playoff driver utilized a good handling 23XI Racing Camry and held off car owner Denny Hamlin to score his second career win, as well as the second race win in a row for non-playoff drivers.

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2023 Advent Health 400: Larson and Hamlin Duel, Chastain Makes Another Enemy

As previously mentioned, the Next Gen car has dramatically helped the on-track product, particularly at Kansas Speedway.

On a day when the track broke the number of lead changes in one race with 37 lead changes among 12 different drivers, it all came down to Kyle Larson with Denny Hamlin right on his heels.

On the back stretch of the final lap, Hamlin made contact with Larson, spinning him into the outside wall, and scoring the victory, relegating Larson to finishing second.

That wasn’t the only contact that afternoon, as Ross Chastain found himself in a post-race brawl with Noah Gragson after an on-track altercation where Chastain ran Gragson into the wall.

The pair were quickly separated after punches were thrown following a brief discussion after 400 miles of hard-nosed racing.

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As NASCAR gets set to embark on the Yellow Brick Road to Kansas Speedway, a playoff driver can click their heels and claim a ticket in the Round of 12 with a win in the Heartland. These are only some of a few noteworthy races from Kansas Speedway. What are some of your favorite Kansas races to watch? Make sure to follow The Daily Downforce for all of the latest NASCAR news and information all throughout the 2023 playoffs.

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Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

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