Bubba Wallace notches NASCAR Cup Series win in Kansas

Bubba Wallace became the second straight non-playoff driver Sunday to score a victory in the postseason, winning the Hollywood Casino 400 race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Driving the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota owned by Michael Jordan with partner Denny Hamlin, Wallace went low and passed Alex Bowman off Turn 4 on Lap 201.

He then cycled through one round of pit stops and cruised to the checkers – a little over a second ahead of Hamlin.

The victory was the second of Wallace’s career in 176 Cup starts.

He scored his first win last Oct. 4 on a Monday in a rain-shortened Talladega Superspeedway race – a win he received criticism for because it was ruled official after 117 of the 188 scheduled laps were run.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” said Wallace, the second African American driver to win a NASCAR race. “And thankful for ‘shut the hell up’ for a lot of people.”

Wallace, 28, led 58 laps and became the 18th different winner in 2022.

The No. 45 Camry also won at Kansas in May, but it had Kurt Busch behind the wheel.

After Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Bowman and Martin Truex Jr. finished the top-five drivers.

Numerous playoff competitors experienced either early pit-road penalties or racing incidents.

On Lap 33, the No. 4 Ford of Kevin Harvick got loose off Turn 4 near Wallace and Ross Chastain. Harvick’s car hit the outside wall, and he brought it in and retired in the last-place position of 36th.

Harvick, who won consecutive races in August, is 16th in points and in a must-win situation Saturday night on Bristol Motor Speedway’s high banks where he has three career Cup wins, including last Fall.

“Go win,” Harvick replied when asked what he has to do.

Polesitter Tyler Reddick became the second contender to have trouble when he blew a right rear tire on Lap 66 and struck the backstretch wall – damaging the right-front of his No. 8 Chevrolet severely.

“Seems like when we’ve had fast cars, we blow tires and crash them,” said Reddick, a two-time winner this season who came home 35th.

While running a high line through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 138, Kyle Busch spun down the track’s frontstretch and through the infield, blowing out a tire as his No. 18 Toyota chunked up grass. He finished 26th.

Busch (-2), Austin Dillon (-3), Chase Briscoe (-9) and Harvick (-35) are the four drivers below the cutoff position heading to Bristol.

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