An intense battle for the win between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth came to a head with less than five laps to go at Kansas Speedway Sunday.
After winning last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Logano earned his second win of the playoffs at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.
“Two in a row, thats how you do it,” Logano said on the radio after taking the checkered flag.
Logano vs. Kenseth
Logano’s 13th Sprint Cup career win was not without incident. Matt Kenseth, who had just led his 153rd lap of the race, went high on the front stretch to avoid lap traffic. As Kenseth sailed off into Turn 1 with Logano on his tail, the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota grew wide in front of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford.
To me, strategically, that didn’t seem like such a great decision for (Logano) but it’s the one he made and that’s how he wanted to win... I’ve actually been one of his biggest fans, certainly not any more
Logano, feeling that Kenseth had blocked him earlier, tagged the rear of his opponent and the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota slid sideways through Turn 4 leaving a plume of smoke in its wake.
“I was moving around the best I could,” Kenseth said. “Joey was a lot tighter, a lot faster on the short run and we were so much better on the long run. I tried to get on the top and get a run and get around him and catching two lapped cars and pretty soon I pulled around them and he just lifted my tires off the ground and wrecked me.”
Two-lap sprint to the finish
NASCAR restarted the race on Lap 267 with Logano at the point followed by Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch at Kurt Busch in tow. Following the first and only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, the drivers ended up in the same order at the line with Logano besting Hamlin by 0.491-seconds.
“It was a fun race,” said Logano of his first back-to-back career Cup wins. “What a great Shell/Pennzoil Ford. I couldn’t be prouder of what this team is doing now…That was good, hard racing. We race each other really hard. I feel like I got fenced twice down the straightaways. He raced me hard so I raced him hard back. It’s just hard racing. That’s the way I race. If I get raced like that I’ll race the same way.
“I just couldn't be more proud of this team. To be sitting in such a good position going into Talladega makes us feel real, real good. The fact that we’re the only team that can relax right now, is gonna pay big dividends once we get to Martinsville. Everyone is a little bit nervous. Our goal is to still win the race. Even though we've moved on to the next round, our goal is still to win that race and try to get some guys nervous for next week. That's the kind of strategy of this Chase.”
Rookie Ryan Blaney finished seventh, followed by Carl Edwards, polesitter Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.
Logano led six times for a total of 42 laps. The race was slowed by seven cautions — including the final yellow flag period ignited by the contact of Logano and Kenseth. Nevertheless, Logano was anything but apologetic.
“I didn’t think it was a good move when I hit the wall,” Logano said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it. I just felt like I raced hard, I got fenced twice. So, I wasn’t going to put up with it.”
After wrecking last week at Charlotte and finishing 42nd, Kenseth needed a boost in the points in order to move on to the Eliminator Round. Instead, he finished 14th and remains 12th in the point standings, 60 points behind Logano. Hamlin trails the No. 22 Ford by 13 points, followed by Kurt Busch (-18), Edwards (-19), Kevin Harvick (-24), Gordon (-24), Keselowski (-24) and Martin Truex Jr. (-25).
“I have nothing to talk about really,” Kenseth said. “You make decisions every day. You make decisions every minute behind the wheel. To me, strategically, that didn’t seem like such a great decision for him but it’s the one he made and that’s how he wanted to win.
“I’ve always raced him with a ton of respect. I’ve actually been one of his biggest fans, certainly not any more but I always was. It’s a shame the car got wrecked. We’ll just go to Talladega and race him there.”
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