Joey Logano boots Matt Kenseth to take the win in Kansas
Joey Logano won his second straight Chase race Sunday, spinning out Matt Kenseth with five laps remaining at Kansas Speedway to potentially spoil his rival’s championship hopes.
In desperate need of a victory to advance to the next round, Kenseth kept trying to block Logano with less than 20 laps to go. But when the two of them hit lapped traffic, Logano ran into Kenseth’s left rear quarter panel, sending him for a spin entering Turn 1.
Logano pulled away from fellow Chase contender Denny Hamlin on the restart, following up his victory a week ago at Charlotte with his second straight fall win at Kansas."
"That’s good, hard racing," said Logano, whose victory last week at Charlotte guaranteed him a spot in the next round. "He raced me hard, so I raced him hard back."
Kenseth had such a miserable day at Charlotte that he was 32 points back heading to Kansas, and almost certainly needed a win this week or next at Talladega for a chance to advance.
That’s why Kenseth was doing everything possible to block Logano. He wound up leading a race-high 153 laps, but his wild ride with a handful to go dropped him to 14th in the race and last among the 12 drivers still alive heading to the final race of the round.
Jimmie Johnson was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Chase drivers Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. Ryan Blaney was next ahead of Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.
Kenseth wasn’t the only Chase contender to have some misfortune.
When the field pitted under green with 53 laps remaining, Martin Truex Jr. had a tire roll away and served a pass-through penalty, while Kevin Harvick drove off with his fuel can and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty. Both lost a lap as Truex finished 15th and Harvick in 16th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who admitted to needing to win to advance, had a wheel go loose on him during a long run and needed to pit under green. That dropped him off the lead lap, too, and he finished two laps down and 21st to face a big uphill challenge heading to Talladega.
Earnhardt won the spring race at the restrictor-plate track.
The wild finish at Kansas led to a massive shake-up in the Chase standings, with Logano the only driver who can head to Alabama without feeling any pressure.
Hamlin, Busch and Edwards have built a bit of a cushion, but everyone else is left hanging in the balance. Truex currently holds down the eighth and final spot in the next round, but he’s just six points ahead of Kyle Busch. Ryan Newman is only eight points back.