Logano punches ticket to final-four in Kansas

Joey Logano landed a Championship 4 berth, scoring his third victory of the season in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway.

Logano led 47 of 267 laps in the Hollywood Casino 400, the first of three races in the Round of 8 elimination round. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford netted his third win at the 1.5-mile Kansas City track and the 26th of his Cup Series career.

“Hell, yeah,” Logano told his crew over the No. 22 radio. “Racing for a championship!”

You come into this race knowing that if you can win this thing you have an amazing advantage. The same thing happened in 2018 when we raced for the win at Martinsville knowing that we have two races to battle for nothing but the championship. I can’t believe it. Especially the way the beginning of the race was going and running back there not scoring stage points. It was a good strategy by Paul and good pit stops and now this Shell Pennzoil Mustang is going to race for a championship at Phoenix.”

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick led the most laps (85) and claimed second place in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, crossing the start-finish line .312 seconds off the lead at the checkered flag. Alex Bowman corralled third place with Brad Keselowski fourth and Kyle Busch finishing out the top five.

The event was the first of three races in the Round of 8, the final elimination bracket that will determine the final four drivers who will contend for the Cup Series crown in the Nov. 8 finale at Phoenix Raceway. Logano automatically advanced to the championship race with Sunday’s victory.

Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, during the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A handful of the eight remaining title-eligible drivers encountered trouble in Sunday’s 400-miler. Faring worst was Kurt Busch, who was sidelined after 197 laps after the engine in his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet expired. He entered the Round of 8 in eighth place and will exit Kansas with a major points deficit after a 38th-place finish.

“Yeah, usually there’s no warning,” said Busch. “Everything is so buttoned up these days in the engine department. I haven’t seen an engine problem in years. No fault of anybody at Hendrick engines. We’re running hard here. We were running top-five and there’s a ton of RPM down the front-straightaway with the tail wind. We were right in the mix. We were doing the deal. I just couldn’t quite clear some guys to get into that top-three or four and then our car would come back to us on the long run after about lap 30.”

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, pits. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“It’s a shame for everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing. Having an engine failure in the Playoffs – it’s just like a huge parachute that slows you up. We’ll pack that parachute up, throw it away and we’ll go to Texas to win. We knew we were going to have to win either here or Texas. Martinsville we have a shot at it, too. The odds are stacked against us, but hey, we’re in the top-eight for a reason. I have a great crew chief, Matt McCall, and we’ll bounce back. Thanks to Monster, GEARWRENCH, Chevrolet. It’s just one of those things where you have an engine failure and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Playoff contender Kurt Busch, blew the guts out of his Ganassi Chevy engine (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Chase Elliott (Stage 1) and Denny Hamlin (Stage 2) divided the stage wins to add one playoff point each to their season-long totals, but each ran into their own pitfalls. Elliott started from the Busch Pole and led 48 laps but battled radio communications issues through most of the event. Hamlin pitted on Lap 180 after a scrape of the Turn 4 retaining wall, losing one lap and falling to 29th place before a final-stage rally. Elliott finished sixth with Hamlin 15th.

Race Results

1 22 Joey Logano (P) Ford 0.000s 246
2 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Ford 0.153 246
3 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Ford 0.563 246
4 88 Alex Bowman (P) Chevy 0.970 246
5 9 Chase Elliott (P) Chevy 1.271 246
6 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 2.292 246
7 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 2.710 246
8 24 William Byron Chevy 3.100 246
9 19 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Toyota 3.996 246
10 21 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 4.726 246
11 95 Christopher Bell # Toyota 4.931 246
12 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 5.789 246
13 10 Aric Almirola Ford 6.334 246
14 41 Cole Custer # Ford 6.707 246
15 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevy 7.053 246
16 11 Denny Hamlin (P) Toyota 7.415 246
17 38 John Hunter Nemechek # Ford 9.279 245
18 43 Bubba Wallace Chevy 10.145 245
19 17 Chris Buescher Ford 10.813 245
20 34 Michael McDowell Ford 11.618 245
21 6 Ryan Newman Ford 12.167 245
22 20 Erik Jones Toyota 12.397 245
23 32 Corey LaJoie Ford 13.118 245
24 13 Ty Dillon Chevy 16.432 245
25 8 Tyler Reddick # Chevy -1 244
26 96 * Daniel Suarez Toyota -2 244
27 14 Clint Bowyer Ford -2 244
28 15 Brennan Poole # Chevy -4 242
29 37 Ryan Preece Chevy -5 241
30 27 JJ Yeley(i) Chevy -5 241
31 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy -6 240
32 53 James Davison Ford -8 238
33 00 Quin Houff # Chevy -9 237
34 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Toyota -10 236
35 7 * Josh Bilicki(i) Chevy -11 235
36 77 Reed Sorenson Chevy -15 231
37 51 Joey Gase(i) Ford -38 208
38 1 Kurt Busch (P) Chevy -49 197
39 49 * Chad Finchum(i) Toyota -92 154
40 42 Matt Kenseth Chevy -102 144