Chase Elliott Fastest in NASCAR Test at Kansas Speedway
NASCAR teams prep for the playoff round-two elimination race with two-day test at Kansas.
Twelve Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams and drivers, along with a test team from each of three manufacturers, participated in a two-day Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series test at Kansas Speedway on Monday and Tuesday. This was in preparation for the Hollywood Casino 400. The race, the elimination event of the second round of the 2018 playoffs, is scheduled for Oct. 21.
Six playoff drivers participated in the test, but reigning champion Martin Truex Jr. and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team only participated on the first day.
Playoff driver Chase Elliott led the opening day, posting the fastest lap, which clocked in at 186.477 mph. That lap was the fastest, overall, of the test.
“It’s been fun,” Elliott said in a press release from Hendrick Motorsports. “I just want to make laps here. It’s not a boring racetrack to come test at. It’s actually fun. Being up at the wall and having to hustle the cars, I enjoy that, and if you’re going to be testing, I’d rather it be something like that for sure.”
Elliott was encouraged by the ability to run the high line on the race track.
“Typically, you come to a test and the lane doesn’t move up until you come back to the race,” Elliott said. “We were already up high yesterday trying to make time, so it’s very friendly to move around here. It doesn’t seem like the track gets a lot of sand or grid on it, so you can move around and do it pretty easily when it’s fresh for a weekend. Yeah, it’s fun.”
Chris Buescher, a non-playoff driver, led day two with a 185.989 mph lap. Kyle Busch was the only driver in the top-three both days, turning in the third-fastest lap on opening day and second on day two.
Teams participating in the test included Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team, Buescher’s No. 37 JTG-Daugherty Racing team, Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team, the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team of Jamie McMurray, the No. 22 Team Penske team of Joey Logano, the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team of Paul Menard, the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team of Kurt Busch, the No. 13 Germain Racing team of Ty Dillon, and the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team of Austin Dillon. The No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team also participated but had Matt Kenseth in its car instead of regular driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Drew Herring, Justin Allgaier, and David Ragan drove manufacturer test cars for Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford, respectively.
Cup Series organizations each were allowed to send one team to the test.
“Sometimes, you’ll hit on something and you might get a little bit better, so I think that’s the goal,” Elliott said. “We come to these things and we spend two days and we might find one thing that helps us a little bit, it seems like.”
Twelve teams will be in the playoffs when the series reaches Kansas. The bottom four of the 16 drivers now in the playoffs will be eliminated after Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, and Denny Hamlin are in the bottom four heading into the Charlotte race. Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman are in the final two provisional advancing positions.