Logano fends off Harvick for Kansas win, punches ticket to Championship 4

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Logano fends off Harvick for Kansas win, punches ticket to Championship 4


Logano fends off Harvick for Kansas win, punches ticket to Championship 4


Joey Logano punched his ticket back to the championship race with a victory Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.

Throughout the final run in the Hollywood Casino 400, Logano navigated lapped traffic and blocked Kevin Harvick all around the 1.5-mile racetrack. Logano wound up in control of the race by beating Harvick off pit road during the final round of green-flag pit stops, and with 42 laps to go, lined up on the outside lane with Harvick to his inside. The two quickly separated themselves from the field to settle the win amongst themselves.

“You got to want it, man,” said a breathless Logano. “What an amazing team this Shell/Pennzoil team is. I am worn out. I spent more time in the mirror than I did in the windshield there. Pit stops got us positions and got us the lead. The 4 (Harvick) was fast, real fast, especially down the straightaways. I thought if I could hold him off the first 15 laps that I would have a chance. Dirty air was the best for us.

“As we caught lap traffic, I was able to gap ourselves as he got more dirty air, and I was able to draft somebody because I was a little slow down the straightaway. Man, I am exhausted after that. We are going to Phoenix and racing for a championship again, heck yeah!”

The victory is the first for Logano since March at Phoenix Raceway and his third of the season. It is also his third win at Kansas.

With the win, Logano will make his fourth Championship 4 appearance in seven seasons next month.

Harvick led a race-high 85 laps. Logano led 47.

“We just needed to get off of pit road first,” said Harvick. “It came down to controlling that restart, and we lost the lead there on the restart and wound up trying to battle and didn’t get the lead, but just really, really fast Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang. All our guys did a great job, and we had a fast car; we moved all over the racetrack, and we weren’t the best behind somebody, but I had a lot of options as they made the car better towards the end of the race. It was a good run for us. I wish we could have one, but we were one short.”

Tyler Reddick brought out the final caution on lap 220 when he hit the wall and sent the field down to the pit crews’ attention for the last time. Logano, Harvick, and Alex Bowman were the first three drivers off pit road.

Behind Logano and Harvick at the checkered flag came Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch in the top five. Chase Elliott finished sixth after winning the first stage and leading 48 laps early in the day.

Ryan Blaney finished seventh, William Byron eighth, Martin Truex Jr. ninth, and Christopher Bell rounded out the top 10.

Denny Hamlin finished 15th and won the second stage. Hamlin led the second-most laps behind Harvick at 58, but fell behind when he had to pit under the green flag at lap 180 when he hit the wall off Turn 4 and damaged his Toyota’s right side. After falling off the lead lap and outside the top 25, Hamlin took the wave around under the caution at lap 198 when Kurt Busch blew an engine.

Busch is last on the playoff grid after finishing 38th at Kansas, the worst of the playoff drivers. He must win at Texas or Martinsville to advance to the championship race.

There were 17 lead changes among 11 drivers and six caution flags at Kansas.