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Logano secures championship race spot with victory

Logano secures championship race spot with victory

Team Penske’s Joey Logano became the first NASCAR Cup Series driver to secure a place in the championship-deciding race with victory at Kansas, fending off late pressure from Kevin Harvick.

A caution period for a Tyler Reddick wall-strike on Lap 221 of 267 around the 1.5-mile circuit brought the field to the pits for fresh tyres, with 2018 champion Logano winning the race of pit-road and jumping fellow Ford Mustang exponent Harvick.

When the race restarted, Logano and Harvick quickly broke away from the rest of the pack, the Stewart-Haas driver running within half-a-second of the leader and experimenting with different lines in an attempt to force a mistake.

But Logano held firm through back-marker traffic to seal victory by 0.321s in the first race of the playoffs ‘Round of 8’ semi-final segment.

Logano’s third victory of the campaign was his first since the fourth round of the championship at Phoenix, the venue for the championship race in November, in the final race before the COVID-19-induced two-month hiatus.

Despite failing to find a way past Logano, Harvick is 41 points clear of the cut-off bubble after his taking his third runner-up spot of the season.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, himself still a Playoff hopeful, finished third having rapidly closed in on the leading duo in the latter stages as they squabbled for the lead.

The top Chevrolet runner got to within a few car lengths of Harvick after a scrappy penultimate lap, only for the 2014 champion to quickly pull away again.

Kansas win secures Logano championship race spot

The coldest Cup race since Martinsville in March 2015 produced pack racing more commonly seen at superspeedways such as Daytona or Talladega, as drivers were challenged with the low-power, high downforce aero package.

This was evidenced by Harvick struggling in dirty air early in stage one, before falling away by the segment end as Chase Elliott scooped the win, despite suffering from radio issues which affected him throughout the race.

Denny Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Penske’s Ryan Blaney duelled for the lead in stage two, with the former maintaining his position through green-flag stops and seeing out a late stage caution for contact between Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones.

Hamlin pipped Harvick in stage three, but his race was undone early in the final stage while battling with team-mate Kyle Busch as he got loose and struck the outside wall, forcing an unscheduled visit to pit-road that left him 15th at the finish.

Brad Keselowski had a strong run to fourth for Penske and strengthened his grip on a spot to advance to the Phoenix finale, with reigning champion Kyle Busch and Elliott rounding out the top six.

Behind Blaney and William Byron (Hendrick), JGR’s Martin Truex Jr recovered to ninth after being sent to the rear at the start for failing pre-race tech as Christopher Bell (Leavine Family Racing) completed the top 10.

In his final race at his home circuit, SHR’s Clint Bowyer was lapped 26th, while Kurt Busch’s hopes of making it to Phoenix took a blow when the engine in his Chip Ganassi Camaro detonated mid-way through the final stage.

Results – 267 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 2h53m43.s
2 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 0.312s
3 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.680s
4 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 3.197s
5 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 3.886s
6 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 4.379s
7 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 4.696s
8 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 4.860s
9 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 5.715s
10 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota 8.178s
11 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 10.673s
12 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford 11.079s
13 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 11.099s
14 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 12.659s
15 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 12.951s
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 13.355s
17 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 16.254s
18 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 16.688s
19 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 19.264s
20 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 19.647s
21 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford 23.309s
22 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 24.383s
23 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 25.254s
24 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
25 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
26 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
27 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 2 Laps
28 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 4 Laps
29 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 5 Laps
30 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford 6 Laps
31 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 6 Laps
32 James Davison Rick Ware Racing Ford 9 Laps
33 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet 9 Laps
34 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 11 Laps
35 Josh Bilicki Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 13 Laps
36 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 17 Laps
37 Joey Gase Petty Ware Racing Ford 39 Laps
38 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Engine
39 Chad Finchum MBM Motorsports Toyota Transmission
40 Matt Kenseth Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Accident

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

About the author

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Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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