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Joey Logano Outduels Kyle Larson in Kansas Thriller

Joey Logano Outduels Kyle Larson in Kansas Thriller

by October 5, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Joey Logano punched his ticket to the Eliminator Round of the Chase after a thrilling victory over Kyle Larson in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Logano notched his fifth win of the season and the eighth of his career by outdueling Larson on a 28-lap green flag sprint to the finish. While the rookie get right up to Logano’s rear bumper, Larson would never be able to get alongside Logano as he would go ahead to cross the finish line by 0.480 seconds behind the eventual winner.

Following the two leaders across the finish line in the top-10 would be Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, and Brian Vickers.

With Logano’s berth into the Eliminator Round, he could finish dead last in the next two races at Charlotte and Talladega and end up fine once Martinsville rolls around to start the next round of the Chase.

“This is nice to get this win and get us through to the next round and not have to worry about Talladega coming up,” Logano said. “This was important. We came into here thinking we need a solid finish. We can’t win the championship today but we can definitely lose it. So we had to get two solid finishes with Kansas and Charlotte before Talladega, and this is as solid as it gets.

“We’re excited about our shot to win this championship this year. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

For Larson, his third runner-up finish of the year is a sign to himself that he’s getting closer and closer to that elusive first career victory.

“It was a good race,” said Larson. “I thought me and Joey were dead even there at the end. It was hard for me to gain on him. We would go within a hundredth of each other it seemed like on every lap. I was able to close on him at one point, but just couldn’t do anything…

“Good finish. We’ll get some wins here soon hopefully before the end of the year, and I think once we get one, we should be here more often as a winner.”

Although he came up short in the final standings of the race, Busch is taking some positives home after his third-place run at Kansas. The third-place finish provided the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota with his best-ever finish at a track that he has traditionally finished poorly at.

“I won today, I just didn’t get champagne and a trophy,” Busch said. “To get through Kansas feels nice. It was just a solid day, solid weekend as a matter of fact coming here with a good car and the guys did a great job listening to my feedback and what I thought I needed in my race car, and we worked on things.

“Really helps when we learn something through qualifying and then from there we just used that the rest of the weekend and really made good time and good adjustments and good things from practice into the race, all through the race today. So M&M’s bunch, Dave Rogers, all those guys deserve a lot of credit.”

While Logano and Busch would have great runs among the Chase field, other drivers would not be as fortunate.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski would pancake the wall and would both go multiple laps down while Jimmie Johnson would be involved in a crash before halfway with former Chaser Greg Biffle. Both Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne would both scrape the wall during the race and Kevin Harvick would rally back from a flat tire late in the race to finish 12th.

Exiting Kansas and entering next week’s race at Charlotte, Kahne, Keselowski, Earnhardt, and Johnson are the bottom-four drivers in the standings who are in danger of facing elimination from the Chase.

Outside of the four cautions that would come out for the various Chasers’ issues would be four more cautions.

Kurt Busch, Joey Gase, and Biffle would bring out the yellow flag for solo incidents while the first caution of the day would be a debris caution that would come out on Lap 72.

The Sprint Cup Series field heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway next for next Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

Top-10 Finishers of the Hollywood Casino 400

  1. 22 – Joey Logano – Ford – Team Penske
  2. 42 – Kyle Larson# – Chevrolet – Chip Ganassi Racing
  3. 18 – Kyle Busch – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  4. 78 – Martin Truex Jr. – Chevrolet – Furniture Row Racing
  5. 99 – Carl Edwards – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
  6. 31 – Ryan Newman – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  7. 11 – Denny Hamlin – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  8. 3 – Austin Dillon# – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  9. 27 – Paul Menard – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  10. 55 – Brian Vickers – Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing

Chase Standings after Race 1 of 3 in the Contender Round

  1. 22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske – 3048 | Leader – CLINCHED
  2. 18 – Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing – 3042 | -6
  3. 99 – Carl Edwards – Roush-Fenway Racing – 3039 | -9
  4. 31 – Ryan Newman – Richard Childress Racing – 3039 | -9
  5. 11 – Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing – 3037 | -11
  6. 4 – Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing – 3033 | -15
  7. 20 – Matt Kenseth – Joe Gibbs Racing – 3031 | -17
  8. 24 – Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports – 3031 | -17 – CUTOFF
  9. 5 – Kasey Kahne – Hendrick Motorsports – 3023 | -25 | -8
  10. 2 – Brad Keselowski – Team Penske – 3009 | -39 | -22
  11. 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Hendrick Motorsports – 3006 | -42 | -25
  12. 48 – Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports – 3004 | -44 | -27

# = Rookie.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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