CONCORD, N.C. – The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs opener at Darlington Raceway was an eventful one for the 16-driver field in the postseason. However, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers leave South Carolina on the correct side of the cut line heading to Kansas Speedway – the site of the second race in the Round of 16.
William Byron and Alex Bowman nabbed top-10 finishes to open the playoffs, while Kyle Larson rallied from early trouble that left him four laps down to finish 12th. An early-race incident saw Chase Elliott finish 36th, but the bonus playoff points from his regular season championship have him in the top 12.
RELATED: Recap the Darlington playoff race
Erik Jones’ win at Darlington means that at least 10 drivers will advance on points to the Round of 12 - since Jones is not in the playoffs - following the races at Kansas and Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 17). A win by a playoff driver in either of those races automatically advances them through to the next round.
Shifting to Kansas, Hendrick Motorsports has eight wins at the 1.5-mile track. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each won three times there. Larson is the defending race winner, while Elliott was victorious in the 2018 playoffs race. The track has also been a solid spot for both Byron and Bowman over the years.
Get the lowdown on how each of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are positioned heading into the middle race of the Round of 16. Be sure to tune in to the race at Kansas on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
William Byron, No. 24
POINTS POSITION: Second with 2,059 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +32
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: Eighth at Darlington - earned his fourth stage win.
KANSAS OUTLOOK: One top five and five top 10s in nine starts. All of the 24-year-old’s top 10s at Kansas have come in his last six starts at the venue. In last season’s playoffs race, he led a career-best 57 laps there.
SPRING KANSAS RESULT: 16th - Byron led 25 laps in the spring event before cutting a tire while leading the race.
Kyle Larson, No. 5
POINTS POSITION: Seventh with 2,044 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +17
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: 12th at Darlington
KANSAS OUTLOOK: One win, five top fives and seven top 10s in 15 starts. Larson won last year’s playoffs race and has back-to-back top-two finishes there. He has led 351 laps in his four starts at the facility.
SPRING KANSAS RESULT: Second – Larson led 29 laps but was passed by eventual race winner Kurt Busch with nine laps to go.
Chase Elliott, No. 9
POINTS POSITION: Ninth at 2,041 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +14
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: 36th at Darlington
KANSAS OUTLOOK: One win, six top fives and eight top 10s in 13 starts. In six of his last eight races there, Elliott has finished sixth or better – that stretch began with his 2018 fall win at this track.
SPRING KANSAS RESULT: 29th – Elliott led 10 laps but spun off of turn three in the final stage.
Alex Bowman, No. 48
POINTS POSITION: 10th at 2,037 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +10
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: 10th at Darlington
KANSAS OUTLOOK: Two top fives and six top 10s in 14 starts. Bowman’s top 10s have all come in the last 10 races at this track, which has been one of his best during his time at Hendrick Motorsports.
SPRING KANSAS RESULT: Ninth
OVERALL PLAYOFF PICTURE
1-Joey Logano: 2,065 points
2-William Byron: 2,059 points
3-Denny Hamlin: 2,057 points
4-Christopher Bell: 2,055 points
5-Tyler Reddick: 2,050 points
6-Ryan Blaney: 2,047 points
7-Kyle Larson: 2,044 points
8-Ross Chastain: 2,042 points
9-Chase Elliott: 2,041 points
10-Alex Bowman: 2,037 points
11-Kyle Busch: 2,035 points
12-Daniel Suarez: 2,029 points
13-Austin Cindric: 2,027 points
14-Austin Dillon: 2,025 points
15-Chase Briscoe: 2,019 points
16-Kevin Harvick: 2,016 points