NASCAR

Joey Logano wins first race of round two at Kansas

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You have to wonder how good Joey Logano feels about his last several weeks. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has won three of the last seven races.

His win at Kansas in the first race of the second round makes one thing for certain for the driver of the No. 22 car for Team Penske – he’s moving onto the third round no matter what happens during the next two races including Talladega.

Round two of the Championship Chase includes the race which Logano won at Kansas and then next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both are high-speed tracks that play well into Logano’s style of driving. Then comes the wild card race at Talladega where finishing is not a sure thing. Many drivers pointed to Talladega as the wild card in the group of tracks in round two.

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It was a fact that was not lost on Logano as he exited the car for his victory lane celebration following the checkered flag. Being safe heading into Talladega was something that Logano said would allow his team to focus on more races coming up.

“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’ll keep trying to capitalize like we’re doing.

Great Finish

When the final restart of the day happened it was a race between Logano and Kyle Larson to the checkered flag. Logano pulled away as Larson could not seem to close the gap finishing in second place. The finish sat well with the rookie driver as he said the two cars were evenly matched.

“I thought we were pretty equal and were running about the same (lap times) there on the last run,” Larson said. “Just a good finish, and we were so even that I couldn’t do anything. I was hoping I would get a run on him in traffic, and all the lappers were giving us the top, so it kind of made it kind of easy for him to run the top.”

Falling Back

The finish was a dominant one for Logano who sealed his fifth win of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. That tied him with Penske teammate Brad Keselowski who didn’t have such a great finish after tire issues sidelined his impressive run.

Speaking of Keselowski, the driver found himself falling back in the chase along with fellow drivers who also carry big names. Kansas ended up being the wild card race for Keselowski, Jimmy Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Khane.

Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, was having a solid fifth place run when his No. 2 car blew a right front tire and slammed into the wall on lap 160. After repairs Keselowski finished a disappointing 36th.

The same issue happened to chase contender Dale Earnhardt Jr. who blew a tire while leading the race sending his car into the wall. Jimmie Johnson was collected in a wreck effectively ending his day and Khane damaged his ride during an incident on a restart. Khane finished 22nd, Earnhardt finished 39th, and Johnson finished 40th.

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