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Jamie Squire | Getty Images

Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin win stages at Kansas

Stage 1 results

Kyle Busch came to Kansas on the outside of the NASCAR Playoff bubble in ninth place, while Kyle Larson seemed to be in a relatively safe spot in the standings up in third. But the two Kyles went in opposite directions in Stage 1 of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, shaking up the playoff picture in the Round of 12 elimination race.

Busch used fresher tires to scoot past Ryan Blaney on Lap 54 and win the stage, which ended under caution. It was Busch’s 14th stage win of the season.

Meanwhile, Larson had to bring the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet down pit road on Lap 65, where the hood was raised. Larson shut off the engine briefly before restarting it and re-entering the track. Eleven laps later, smoke billowed out of the back of Larson’s car, bringing out a caution and ending Larson’s day.

“I felt it drop a cylinder or something,” Larson told NBCSN. “Disappointing way to finish our race and probably our season. But we’ll be all right.”

Earlier, pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. led the first 35 laps, but a restart violation forced the No. 78 Toyota to come down pit road for a pass-through penalty. The No. 78 failed to establish the inside line above the white line on the restart.

RELATED: Truex earns restart penalty

Ryan Blaney, who started at the back because of a qualifying time that was disallowed, moved rapidly through the field and finished fourth in Stage 1. Blaney was one of the cars that stayed off pit road after a Lap 46 caution for Brett Moffitt’s No. 83 car smacking the wall in Turn 2. After that, Blaney held the lead until Busch passed him.

A competition caution came out on Lap 30 to check track conditions following heavy rain storms that moved through the Kansas City, Kansas, area overnight Saturday.

Finish Driver Team Race points
1.  Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 10
2.  Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 9
3.  Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 8
4.  Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing 7
5.  Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing 6
6.  Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 5
7.  Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 4
8.  Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing 3
9.  Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing 2
10.  Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing 1

Stage 2 results

Denny Hamlin won Stage 2 on older tires as he stayed out when there was a caution with five laps to go in the stage. Kevin Harvick, who went to pit road, finished second as different strategies played out among the NASCAR Playoff contenders in Kansas.

Jimmie Johnson, another car that stayed out, fell back to 10th and picked up just one race point as a result. Kyle Busch was seemingly cruising to the stage victory, but he came in for tires and finished in fifth place.

Hamlin and Brad Keselowski both picked up pit-road penalties coming out of the stage that made their attempts to win the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway that much tougher.

Johnson, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were the drivers in danger of being eliminated as the race entered the Final Stage. Matt Kenseth, who finished fourth in the stage, moved into the eighth and final transfer spot heading into the Final Stage.

Ultimately, Larson, McMurray, Stenhouse and Kenseth did not advance to the Round of 8.

Finish Driver Team Race points
1. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 10
2. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 9
3. Brad Keselowski Team Penske 8
4. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing 7
5. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 6
6. Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing 5
7. Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing 4
8. Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing 3
9. Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 2
10. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 1