NASCAR: GWC at Hollywood Casino 400, Logano wins the race

  • Joe Logano at 2015 Hollywood Casino 400

Kansas Speedway was the home for the second race of the second round of The Chase, the 267-lap long Hollywood Casino 400. The race was won by Joey Logano in a controversial Green-White-Checkered finish that took place after a collision between him and Kenseth who was leading for the most of the race. After a disappointing last race, where he had faced problems with the wheel, Brad Keselowski started from pole, followed by Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin in top five. Young gun Ryan Blaney was the top placed non-Chase driver at eighth, while Dale Jr. was under big pressure starting from 15th, as the last Chase driver, with Jeff Gordon in front of him, as well as two non-Chase drivers, Paul Menard on 13th and Greg Biffle on 12th.

The race started 2:35 local time with Keselowski moving away from the rest of the pack, while Kyle Busch overtook Edwards in the battle for second, but soon dropped to fourth, while Harvick moved up to third and then second. By lap 10, Keselowski’s lead over Harvick was more than 2s, but both drivers were pushing hard and the battle was almost certain. Unfortunately for Harvick, he reported strange vibrations early on in the race, but didn’t slow down and continued pushing towards Keselowski. Lap 28 saw the new leader as Harvick managed to overcome his technical setbacks and overtake Keselowski, just before the caution came out on lap 29 when JJ Yeley crashed in Turn 2, spilling fluids all over the track.

After the caution went out, Harvick pitted, changing two tires and returning to the lead. Martin Truex Jr. jumped to second, followed by Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth, all of them in the Chase. Brad Keselowski dropped to sixth. The race restarted on lap 40 and the heated battle for the lead continued. Logano joined the battle when he overtook Truex Jr. and climbed up to second. Logano was quickly in Harvick’s bumper and made an easy outside high line pass on lap 50. On lap 54, Kurt Busch entered the top five by overtaking Keselowski.

Tony Stewart’s punctured tire on lap 63 prompted the second caution of the race. All race leaders pitted and Carl Edwards exited the pits as the new leader, followed by Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. However, as Casey Mears didn’t pit, he was the leader, but was overtaken by Edwards on the restart on lap 70. Kenseth climbed to second, and then to first. Harvick went up to second, followed by Blaney, with Joey Logano on fourth. Logano moved up to third and Carl Edwards dropped further back to sixth.

On lap 109 Kyle Larson’s tire went out and that caused the third caution flag. On lap 115, the race restarted with Kenseth keeping Jimmie Johnson away while Logano battled with Harvick to stay third. Halfway into the race, Matt Kenseth was still in the lead, chased by Jimmie Johnson. In the following laps, another non-Chase driver Austin Dillon managed to get to top five. Instead of green flag pit stops, the cars went to the pits under yellow when Austin Dillon got a blown tire. On race 160, the race restarted. On lap 165, Dale Jr. was forced into the pits for a loose wheel, and he pitted under green. In the meantime, Logano overtook Johnson for the second.

Fifth caution flew on lap 171 when Clint Bowyer slammed hard against the wall. Luckily, the driver was okay, but he was out of the race. On lap 179, the race restarted and Logano went to the lead in front of Kenseth. The two of them drove side by side for several laps until Kenseth retaliated and returned to the front of the grid on lap 195. Luckily for Kenseth, Keselowski’s contact with the wall didn’t cause caution and he was able to complete the leader change. Kenseth entered lap 200 as the leader and with 67 laps to go, everything seemed great for him. On lap 214, Truex Jr. pitted and on lap 215, race leader pitted with four tires changed. Logano also went to the pits, as well as Jimmie Johnson on lap 216. Kevin Harvick was issued a stop-go penalty for his pit crew dropping the fuel tank and Truex Jr. was penalized too, for a loose tire. Ryan Blaney was in the lead, bud as the cycle completed with Paul Menard in the pits, Matt Kenseth returned to the lead.

With 39 laps to go, Kyle Busch reported engine overheating but remained in the race. On lap 243, sixth caution flew when Justin Allgaier hit the wall. Kenseth and Logano pitted, but Jimmie Johnson stayed, thus going up to the lead. With 20 laps to go, the race restarted. Kenseth returned to the lead, but Logano was right in his tail. With just 3 laps to go, Kenseth and Logano went into slower traffic and Logano chipped Kenseth’s rear end, spinning him and causing a caution flag. Denny Hamlin went up to second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. Due to the caution coming out so late, the race ended in Green White Checkered finish with Joey Logano holding off the attackers. Hamlin finished second, followed by Johnson and Kanhe. Kyle Busch was fifth, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney. Edwards, Keselowski, Gordon and Newman followed. The next Chase pack occupied 14th, 15th and 16th and those were Kenseth, Truex Jr. and Harvick. The slowest Chase racer was Dale Jr. at 21st.

The incident moved Matt Kenseth to twelfth and last position in The Chase, behind Dale Jr, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch. Truex Jr. was eighth, behind Keselowski, Gordon, Harvick, Edwards, Kurt Busch and Hamlin who is now second in the standings and will survive the second round. The Chase is going to be particularly hard for Kenseth and Dale Jr. who have to win at Talladega in order to advance to the next round. Stay tuned for more excitement as Talladega looms!

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