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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway

Watch Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls the top moments of the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

One race down, two races to go in the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Sunday’s race site is Kansas Speedway, which will be hosting its second race of the year. The 1.5-mile track has been a part of the playoffs since the new system began in 2004.

There will be eyes on the front and back of the 16-driver playoff pack as teams hope to build on their positions before the third and final race of the first round Sept. 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Drivers to watch at Kansas:


Joey Logano

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: 4th at Darlington, 12th at Daytona, 3rd at Watkins Glen
  • Past at Kansas: Three career wins

MORE: NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Logano jumped into the playoff point lead at Darlington. Can he stay there? The Ford driver has three victories at Kansas (2014, 2015, 2020), tying him for the all-time win lead at the track with Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 7th
  • Last three races: 12th at Darlington, 37th at Daytona, won at Watkins Glen
  • Past at Kansas: Won in 2021.

Larson sits mid-pack in the standings in pursuit of a second straight Cup championship. He finished first and second in his last two outings at Kansas.

William Byron

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: 8th at Darlington, 34th at Daytona, 22nd at Watkins Glen
  • Past at Kansas: Best career finish is 5th

Byron was among the top drivers at Darlington, leading 50 laps and finishing eighth to climb to second in the point standings. He has five top 10s in the past six races at Kansas.


Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 16th
  • Last three races: 33rd at Darlington, 20th at Daytona, 12th at Watkins Glen
  • Past at Kansas: Three career wins

MORE: NASCAR executive: Fires not acceptable

Harvick’s car was on fire, and he was fiery, at Darlington. He left the race early and finished 33rd after flames erupted under his car. In the garage area, he lashed out at NASCAR about car construction and safety. The finish dropped Harvick to 16th (and last) in the playoff standings.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 20th at Darlington, 33rd at Daytona, 21st at Watkins Glen
  • Past at Kansas: Career best finish of 7th

Chastain’s season has been in decline. He has seven straight finishes of 18th or worse, including a 20th at Darlington last week. He dropped five spots in the point standings to eighth.

Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 6th
  • Last three races: 13th at Darlington, 15th at Daytona, 24th at Watkins Glen
  • Past as Kansas: Career best finish of 3rd

Blaney’s unlikely season rolls on. Despite not winning a points race, he sits sixth in the playoff standings, only 18 points behind leader (and teammate) Joey Logano. His track record at Kansas is not great -- six finishes of 12th or worse in the past seven races.