Monday, October 06, 2014
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Logano takes Hollywood Casino 400

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[October 06, 2014]  KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Joey Logano held off Kyle Larson in the final laps of the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday to claim his fifth win of 2014 and his second of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. With the win, Logano guaranteed his advancement to the Eliminator round, the third round of the Chase.

"It makes Talladega a lot easier, that is for sure," Logano said. "To know we are onto the next round, we can focus on a few more races coming up, and we will keep trying to capitalize on what we are doing."

Larson finished second, Kyle Busch was third, Martin Truex Jr. fourth and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five.

Logano claimed the second spot at the start of the race and was a mainstay at or near the front throughout the event. He routinely lost positions on pit road during cautions with four tire pit stops as some of his fellow-competitors would take only two. But when the race would return to green, he would work his way back up to the front.

"We had such a fast Shell Pennzoil Ford, again. It is so much fun to race these cars lately. Everyone at Team Penske has given me great stuff to work with," Logano said. "I felt we had a good car all weekend, but I wasn't 100 percent sure but once that top opened up, to just took off and there were a couple cars that could run up there, and it was me and the 42 (Larson) that were the fastest up there."

Logano restarted fourth on four tires after a lap 229 caution and was up to second by the time another yellow flag waved soon after. He then took the lead from Ryan Newman on the restart that followed and remained in the top spot the rest of the way.

Busch got up to second on the final restart but then lost that position to Larson. Larson then closed on Logano and the lead, but as the laps wound down, Logano was able to put some distance on his closest competition.

"I don't know if he was better than us, and I don't know if we were better than him," Larson said. "I thought we were pretty equal and were running about the same laps there on the last run."

Kansas Speedway was unkind to several drivers still a part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, especially those from Hendrick Motorsports. After starting in the back, Jimmie Johnson was caught up in an incident that brought out the third caution of the race on lap 85. He sustained enough damage to his car to spend a significant amount of time in the garage.

"Just got tagged in the left-rear," Johnson said. "I was cruising along the top, thought everything was fine, and then found myself sideways down the back straightaway."

Johnson was joined in the garage by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. on lap 122 after a right-front tire issue while leading the race sent Earnhardt into the wall and then to the garage.

After returning to the track nearly 60 laps down, Earnhardt reported running on only seven cylinders.

A third Hendrick driver, Kasey Kahne, saw the yellow flag fly just a lap after making a green-flag pit stop on lap 228. To add insult to injury, on the restart that followed, Kahne hit the wall like his teammates before him.

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Their teammate Jeff Gordon made contact with Jamie McMurray while racing near the front earlier in the race. As a result, Gordon lost several positions but was able to continue on the track and recovered, moving back toward the front.

Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski also hit the wall and spent significant time in the garage, bringing out the fifth caution of the race on lap 160.

"We blew the right-front tire," Keselowski said. "I am not sure why. We didn't have an aggressive setup or anything; we just blew the tire."

Pole sitter and Chaser Kevin Harvick ran up front for much of the race, as did McMurray. Harvick suffered a tire issue that necessitated a green-flag pit stop just before the yellow flag waved on lap 229. McMurray fell off the pace and hit pit road because of an engine issue suffered while running eighth in the late laps.

Newman finished sixth, Denny Hamlin was seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, Paul Menard ninth and Brian Vickers 10th.

NOTES: Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick finished first and second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas on Saturday. ... Kevin Harvick's pole-winning lap was a track qualifying record and resulting in his Sprint Cup Series leading eighth pole of the season and his third-straight at Kansas Speedway. ... Reigning and six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson started farthest back of any driver still in the Chase, starting 32nd after spinning in qualifying on Friday. ... Jeff Gordon headed into the Hollywood Casino 400 as the winningest driver at Kansas Speedway with three victories at the track, including a victory in the most recent race at the track in May. ... The two races remaining in the Contender round of the Chase are the Oct. 11 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Oct. 19 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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