CONCORD, N.C. – The Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs comes to a close this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
While Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman are on the outside looking in, the organization’s past success at the Kansas City oval could foreshadow a strong run on Sunday, which could solidify their spot in the Round of 8.
Below are some key insights to keep in mind when Hendrick Motorsports drivers take the green flag at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 on NBC.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams at Kansas Speedway with seven wins, five runner-up results, 33 top-five finishes, 58 top-10s and 1,233 laps led. Its five poles at the track are tied for the most, and its drivers' average finish of 13.3 is the best of all teams. Kansas is a 1.5-mile oval. Through eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2019, Hendrick Motorsports has improved its stats in virtually every category compared to the same starts in 2018. This year, the organization owns two more poles, one more win, six more top-five finishes, 11 more top-10s and 441 more laps led. The drivers have also bettered their average start by more than six positions and average finish by more than nine positions, scoring 393 more points than 2018 in the process.
- Elliott currently ranks 10th in the driver playoff standings, 22 points out of eighth. Upon heading to Kansas this weekend, the driver looks to secure his way into the Round of 8 by capturing the win. His most recent success at the track came last year when he captured the team’s third victory of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season after leading the final 44 laps in the race.
- Earlier this year at the track, Elliott started the race 32nd and quickly made his way into the top five, collecting a runner-up result in Stage 1 and winning Stage 2. He ultimately finished fourth and collected 52 points, the most of all drivers. Altogether, in his previous seven starts, the driver of the No. 9 has garnered one win, three top-five finishes and four top-10s. His three top-five finishes at Kansas are his second-most at a single track in his Cup career, tied with Michigan, Bristol and Talladega. He has led a total of 93 laps at the 1.5-mile track, all but four coming in the two most recent events. In the last four races at Kansas, he has earned a total of 164 points, the second-highest of all drivers.
- While Byron has scored the second-most stage points (20) in the Round of 12, a 13th-place finish at Dover and a 33rd-place finish at Talladega have left him sitting 12th in the Cup Series playoff standings, 27 points below the cut-off line. He’s looking to secure his spot in the Round of 8 at a track where luck has not been on his side. While running solidly within the top 10 at the end of the 2018 spring race, the No. 24 driver was collected in a multi-car incident with 14 laps to go, ending his night with a 33rd-place finish. In the fall of 2018, a mechanical failure 55 laps in resulted in a 38th-place finish. In the spring event this season, Byron was running second when an issue on pit road during green-flag stops forced a 20th-place result. However, with his recent success with leading laps in 2019 (224) Byron is optimistic heading into the race weekend.
- Jimmie Johnson has seen plenty of success over the course of his 26 starts at Kansas Speedway, accumulating three wins at the 1.5-mile track. The driver's last win came on May 9, 2015, when he led the final 10 laps to edge competitor Kevin Harvick for the victory. He owns 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks in his career, the most all-time. In addition to his wins at the track, the driver claims three pole positions, nine top-five finishes, 18 top 10s and has led a total of 601 laps at the 1.5-mile oval. Last time at the track, the No. 48 driver took the green flag in 12th. After battling his way throughout the race, the driver was just shy of a top-five finish, capturing a sixth-place result.
- Kansas marks the third race in Alex Bowman’s series of runner-up finishes earlier this year, including the two previous tracks of Dover and Talladega. Following his 37th-place finish at Talladega on Monday, Bowman now sits ninth in the playoff standings. The driver of the No. 88 machine is currently 18 points out of the eighth position with just this weekend’s race remaining to advance to the Round of 8.
- Bowman will make his ninth Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. His three top-10s at the venue are tied for his most at a single track. Earlier this season, the Tucson, Arizona, native qualified fifth and led 63 laps en route to a second-place finish at the 1.5-mile facility. He had the second-best average running position of sixth and spent 181 laps inside the top five, which was the most for a driver in that event. In the Round of 12, Bowman and the No. 88 team have secured 18 stage points, which is the fourth-highest amount of stage points secured among playoff drivers. The 26-year-old driver earned 53 total points between the races at Dover International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the Round of 12, the sixth-highest total among the 12 playoff drivers.