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Joey Logano bumps his way to victory; championship cutdown a week away

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Joey Logano bumped aside race leader Matt Kenseth 5 laps from the finish and went on to win the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Kenseth wound up in 14th leaving him with the task of needing to win next week in order to remain in contention for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

Kenseth led 153 of the race’s 267 laps, but could not hold off Logano, who won his second consecutive race. Denny Hamlin finished second, Jimmie Johnson was third and Kasey Kahne fourth.

Among the 12 Chase drivers, Kyle and Kurt Busch were fifth and sixth, respectively. Carl Edwards was eighth, followed by Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.

Coming into the race, Kenseth was already in the position of needing a win after a 42nd place finish last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He appeared to be on his way to getting the victory he needed, but the tangle with Logano spoiled his chance and in all likelihood, his season.

Logano was unapologetic after the race. He felt it was just the nature of the sport.

“It was good, hard racing,” said Logano from Victory Lane. “He raced me hard and I raced him hard back. I couldn’t be more proud of what (our team is) doing now.”

The 12 championship contenders will be reduced to 8 following next week’s Campingworld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Championship aspirations have continued or been crushed at the Alabama racetrack known for big crashes involving large numbers of cars.

By way of his 2 victories, Logano has already advanced to the next round. He is followed by  Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Edwards. Kevin Harvick, Gordon and Keselowski are tied for fifth through the seventh position. Martin Truex, Jr. is one point behind those three.

On the outside looking in, for now, is Kyle Busch, Newman, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kenseth. Busch and Newman have the chance to race their way into the top 8, but Earnhardt and Kenseth both need a victory.

The complete driver standings can be found here.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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