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article imageNASCAR: Logano nudges out win in Kansas

By John Duarte     Oct 19, 2015 in Sports
Kansas City - Joey Logano won his fifth race of the season and second-straight in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Chase for the Sprint Cup after a maneuver that left Matt Kenseth in disappointment and disbelief.
The two drivers were one-two in the closing laps of the Hollywood Casino 400. at Kansas Speedway. Kenseth was leading the race, with Logano closing ground quickly. As the two approached lapped traffic with less than five laps to go, Kenseth moved to block Logano in an attempt to prevent the latter from passing him. Logano backed off momentarily, but promptly mounted another assault on the leader. As Kenseth veered to block him a second time, Logano bumped Kenseth's car and sent it spinning in a cloud of tire smoke.
“I was running the lane he wanted to run in, but, my goodness, isn't this racing? It's not what I would have done, but he had a decision to make and that's the one he made,” said Kenseth, who had to stop for new tires and finished 14th in the race. “I was very disappointed he would do that.”
The cat-and-mouse game started with 15 laps remaining in the race. Logano and Kenseth nearly came together then.
“We ran each other hard. He ran me hard. I ran him hard back,” said Logano, adding it often leads to an incident such as the one at the end of the Hollywood Casino 400. “It's unfortunate that those things happen, you know, and it's just hard to — it doesn't take anything away from our win today.”
Logano excused his actions as to it being his style of racing and the way most drivers approach the situation — racing hard when a win is on the line. He said that racing incidents like the one on Sunday “happen every now and again” and drivers deal with them and move on. “There's a lot of aggression out there and that's what our sport is built on,” Logano said, adding that his approach is to react to a situation on the track.
“That's the way I race,” he said. “If I get raced like that, I'll race the same way.”
When asked if he thought Logano wrecked him on purpose, Kenseth was direct in his assessment. “Absolutely — 100 percent.”
Logano saw what happened as nothing more than a racing incident. “We were just going for the same piece of real estate.”
While that is arguably what it was, the impact of it wasn't lost on Kenseth, who now finds himself in a precarious spot in the standings, last among the drivers looking to move on as the final eight making it to the Eliminator Round. Kenseth said that he considered himself one of Logano's biggest supporters up to the events at the Hollywood Casino 400.
“I used to have respect for him,” Kenseth said after the race. “But not anymore.”
The late caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that added two laps to the scheduled race distance of 267 circuits of the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
Race runner-up Denny Hamlin said the wreck was “too far ahead of me to see,” but it likely was a combination of “one guy that had nothing to lose and one that probably saw an opportunity to move on to the next round.” In the end, however, he tended to side with Kenseth.
“Don't know what happened,” he said. “But, no matter what, I'm going to stick up for Kenseth. So, he's probably right.”
Jimmie Johnson finished third in the Hollywood Casino 400.
It becomes a do-or-die situation for four drivers in the final race of the Contender Round at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend. Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kenseth all have significant ground to make up if they are going to break into the Top 8 in the drivers standings and avoid being cut from further contention in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The 500, on Oct. 25, is next on the Sprint Cup Series schedule and the final race in the Contender Round of this year's Chase. After the race, four drivers will be eliminated, bringing the list of contenders for the title to eight.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, chase for the Sprint cup, joey logano, Matt Kenseth
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