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NASCAR at Kansas: Denny Hamlin rallies to capture Super Start Batteries 400

Sporting News — (Tom Gatto)

NASCAR returned to midweek racing with Thursday night's Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The race kicked off the mathematical second half of the series' season (race No. 19), but it was right in the heart of the playoff chase. After Thursday, seven races remain before the Field of 16 is set.

Denny Hamlin was already assured of a playoff spot before the race thanks to his four wins; he now has a series-high five wins this season after passing polesitter Kevin Harvick and then holding off Brad Keselowski late in Stage 3.

"I don't know if we had the best car. We definitely a top-three car all day," Hamlin told NBCSN in Victory Lane.

"This team's hitting on all cylinders right now," he added. "We can win any given week and that's something that's really to come by."

Harvick led Thursday's field to the green flag thanks to winning a random draw for the pole position. He was seeking his fifth win of the season and an expansion of his points lead.

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Sporting News tracked live race updates and lap-by-lap highlights from Thursday's race (all times Eastern).

NASCAR at Kansas live results, highlights from Thursday's race

Order of finish

Finish (Start)Driver
1. (10)Denny Hamlin
2. (7)Brad Keselowski
3. (5)Martin Truex Jr.
4. (1)Kevin Harvick
5. (21)Erik Jones
6. (3)Aric Almirola
7. (24)Cole Custer
8. (6)Alex Bowman
9. (9)Kurt Busch
10. (15)William Byron
11. (8)Kyle Busch
12. (11)Chase Elliott
13. (23)Tyler Reddick
14. (19)Clint Bowyer
15. (36)Ty Dillon
16. (27)Michael McDowell
17. (14)Matt Kenseth
18. (37)Daniel Suarez
19. (30)John Hunter Nemechek
20. (4)Ryan Blaney
21. (31)Corey LaJoie
22. (28)JJ Yeley
23. (22)Christopher Bell
24. (32)Quin Houff
25. (33)Josh Bilicki
26. (26)Garrett Smithley
27. (16)Austin Dillon
28. (18)Ryan Newman
29. (34)Joey Gase
30. (29)Brennan Poole
31. (39)Reed Sorenson
32. (20)Jimmie Johnson
33. (13)Chris Buescher
34. (35)Ryan Preece
35. (2)Joey Logano
36. (12)Matt DiBenedetto
37. (17)Bubba Wallace
38. (38)Timmy Hill
39. (40)BJ McLeod
40. (25)Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

11:20 p.m.: The unofficial top 10: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Cole Custer, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch and William Byron.

11:11 p.m.: Denny Hamlin takes the checkered flag after a green-flag run to the finish. That's win No. 5 for the driver of the 11 car.

10:55 p.m.: Caution No. 11 as John Hunter Nemechek wrecks. The restart comes with 22 to go. 

10:45 p.m.: Caution with 33 to go for Corey LaJoie. William Byron was in the lead when it was called. He was in the lead after the pit stop.

10:10 p.m.: A violent wreck not long after the ensuing restart brings out the red flag (which is quickly lifted). Ryan Preece's car almost lands on its roof as it slams hard into the inside wall. Preece was not injured, but he looked angry as he exited the car. It appears the incident thing started when Christopher Bell drove up into Ryan Newman's path. 

10 p.m.: Caution after the cars of Matt Kenseth and Bubba Wallace collide. Major damage to the right front of Wallace's machine. Caution on the restart as Joey Logano goes sliding into the wall with perhaps a cut tire. The ensuing chain reaction heavily damages Matt DiBenedetto's car and causes damage for Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon.

9:45 p.m.: Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott restart 1-2 after respective two-tire stops.

9:40 p.m.: Stage 2 is complete. Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney finish 1-2. The remainder of the top 10: Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott. The final stage is scheduled to be 107 laps.

9:25 p.m.: Chris Buescher breaks up the monotony with a single-car spin. Caution with fewer than 20 to go in Stage 2.

9:20 p.m.: A long green-flag run after the caution. Martin Truex Jr. is up by two seconds over Denny Hamlin. The race is official with the completion of 134 laps. 

8:55 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. passes teammate Denny Hamlin for the lead and then pulls away — right before a caution for a Bubba Wallace spin. We were 100 laps into the scheduled 267 laps. Brad Keselowski comes out of the pits with the lead after taking just two tires.

8:40 p.m.: Stage 1 (80 laps) is complete. Kyle Busch wins it by half a second over Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman and Erik Jones make up the rest of the top 10. This is Busch's first win of any kind this season.

8:30 p.m.: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is out of his car, which caught fire. He told NBCSN it was an electrical fire coming from under the dashboard. "I could see the fire, it was right beside me," he said. The car is in the garage undergoing repairs.

8:20 p.m.: Joey Logano is trying to work back through the field after being sent to the rear for an uncontrolled tire during the competition caution. The Joe Gibbs Racing trio of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are 1-2-3 at Lap 47.

8:06 p.m.: Competition caution after Lap 25. Joey Logano leads at the time of the yellow flag. He enters the pits with everyone else.

8 p.m.: Harvick had fallen out of the lead by Lap 10, with Joey Logano taking over the point. Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. were following the new leader.