NCS: Larson continues tear, wins third in a row

(  Kyle Larson did the heavy-lifting on Sunday, leading nine different times for a race-high 130 laps, ultimately crossing the finish line a hefty 3.619-seconds ahead of the field to earn a NASCAR Cup Series-best ninth win of the season (15th of his career) in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

It is the third consecutive race win for the 29-year old Californian and the second time this season he’s won three in a row. The last time a driver won three straight races twice in a season was 1987 when the late, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt accomplished the feat.

As important as the milestone and positive playoff outcome to Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports team, however, Sunday’s victory also comes 17 years to the day that the storied organization lost 10 people – including Rick Hendrick’s son Ricky and brother John – in a plane crash near Martinsville, Virginia.

Notable was the early exit for Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney. He entered Kansas ranked second in the standings. But his No. 12 Ford was hit by Dillon and sent into the wall as the two ran among the frontrunners with only 44 laps remaining. Blaney’s car was unable to continue and he ended up 37th on the afternoon, dropping from second to fifth in the playoff standings, one point behind Kyle Busch, who finished 28th.

Heading into Martinsville, Larson has the only automatic entry into the Championship 4 with his wins last week at Texas and this week at Kansas. Elliott is now second in the standings with a two-point edge over Hamlin.

Fourth place, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Busch, has that one-point advantage over Blaney and a three-point edge on his JGR teammate Truex. Team Penske’s Keselowski is six points behind Busch and his Penske teammate Logano goes into Martinsville 26 points below the elimination line.

For more on Sunday’s race, plus updated standings and more, follow this link.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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