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Joey Logano Earns Berth In NASCAR Championship With Win At Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, KS (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Joey Logano held off Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

The victory guarantees Logano a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship November 8, 2020 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.

“So proud of this Shell-Pennzoil team,” said Logano. “They never quit today. It was a tough one to start. We kind of fell back I think a couple stage points the first stage, then no stage points the second. Paul had some strategy. Two tires. Hung in there, kept our track position. Crazy good pit stops kept us in position.”

Logano did the rest, getting to the lead and then blocking several attempts by Harvick to get the lead of the race away from the No. 22 Ford.

“A couple decent restarts got us to the lead,” said Logano. “From there it’s just driving out of that mirror almost the whole time there the last 40 laps. It was a long 40 laps, however long that run was.”

Harvick didn’t think Logano had a better car, just better track position when it mattered most.

Three Rivers Karting

“Joey did just a good job of putting his car right in front of ours,” said Harvick. “With this package, every time you put your car in front of the car behind you, it takes the nose away. We just had a little bit of trouble trying to get the nose to turn when he would take our lane. Our car was plenty fast to win the race today and just came up one short.”

Alex Bowman finished third in the No. 88 Chevrolet followed by Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski in fourth and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5.

Two playoff drivers had issues in Kansas.  Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin hit the wall on lap 180.  Hamlin was forced to pit road due to the damage.  Hamlin however rallied for a fifteenth place finish.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch was not as fortunate.  Busch’s motor blew up on lap 197 ending the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet’s day.  Busch is now in a must-win situation in the next two events (Texas and Martinsville) if he hopes to compete for his second Cup Series Championship.

Logano’s win means there are only 3-spots remaining in the Championship finale at Phoenix. Currently that leaves Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott fighting it out for the final spot.  Keselowski sits in third place, eight points ahead of Elliott for the current points cut-off.

Kansas Final Results

Drivers Points After Kansas

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NASCAR

Martin Truex Jr. leads Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2-3 at Richmond

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RICHMOND, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr. overcame a first lap penalty for jumping the start of the race and came back to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway.

Truex beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell for the win, which automatically advances Truex to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs that begins in two weeks at Las Vegas.

“I let the 11 (Hamlin) get a nose out in front of me to get the launch first,” explained Truex about the start of the race.  “I wasn’t going to jump him, and then he spun the tires and stopped. What am I supposed to do, stand on the brakes and crash the field behind me?”

Fortunately Truex didn’t crash the field behind him but he was sent to pit road to serve the penalty, which left him the last car in the field.

Hamlin, who led a race-high 197-laps, held on for second place and is also locked into the Round of 12 after his win last weekend at Darlington.

“The whole JGR team had fast cars for all of us today. I really wish we had gotten two in a row, but regardless still a great day for the team,” Hamlin said.

Chase Elliott rallied for a fourth place finish after having losing a lap after trouble in the pits.

Three Rivers Karting

Joey Logano finished fifth with Kyle Larson in sixth.  Larson is also locked into the Round of 12 on points.

Four playoff drivers head into Bristol outside of the Top 12 and need to either win or score a ton of points in order to advance.

Hendrick Motorsports Alex Bowman sits in 12th spot after a 12th place finish at Richmond.  Bowman is tied in points with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch but Busch wins the tiebreaker by having the best finish in the round.  Tyler Reddick, William Byron and Michael McDowell are also on the outside looking in.

Busch was having a great run and even came off pit road in the lead following the competition caution on lap 32 but disaster struck on lap 42.

“Something happened in that left rear,” explained Busch. “It let go and it let go of our points and it let go of our whole season right now.”

Cup Richmond Results

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NASCAR

Ryan Blaney wins NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona; Larson top playoff seed

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney picked up his second straight NASCAR Cup Series victory winning Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Blaney was out front on the last lap when a multi-car crash occurred in the last turn during NASCAR overtime to seal the victory for the driver and No. 12 Ford Mustang crew.

“Cool to get our second win in a row,” said Blaney. “Got a great push by Corey LaJoie. That was the big push that got us ahead to the lead. I think he pushed me so good, I mean, me, Corey and the 4 all got single file. We were able to be ahead there when that last wreck on the backstretch happened.”

LaJoie was one of nine-cars involved in that Turn 3 crash on the final lap.  Four of the drivers,  Austin Dillon, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez and LaJoie, needed a victory to qualify for the Playoffs.

Three Rivers Karting

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick earned the 16th Playoff position, beating out teammate Austin Dillon for the final spot.

Kyle Larson claimed NASCAR’s regular season title based on the strength of his series-leading five victories in 2021.

The back-to-back victories moved Blaney into the second spot in the Playoffs followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in third and fourth.

2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott is fifth followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman in sixth.  Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is seventh and William Byron is eighth.  Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski round out the Top 10.

The final six playoff seeds include Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch, JGR’s Christopher Bell, this year’s Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell, Stewart Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola, Reddick and former Cup Champ Kevin Harvick.

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NASCAR

Blaney Grabs Win At Michigan

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BROOKLYN, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney led the final eight laps to win Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  Blaney took the lead on a restart to pick up his second win of the year and sixth of his career.

“Man, I’m proud of everybody on the 12 team,” said Blaney. “We weren’t great to start the day off. We kept working and working and got a lot better. It’s so cool to get in Victory Lane for Ford here. This is such a huge win for Ford, Penske, Menards, Cardell, Bodyarmor. I can’t thank them enough, what they do. That was cool, man. I’m fired up. I’m fired up.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished second and third followed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch in fourth.

Three Rivers Karting

“I had points on my mind a little bit too much,” said Larson. I’m looking in my mirror. I saw the 11 (Denny Hamlin) falling back some. I just didn’t want to screw it up really.  I felt like I had to weigh the risk versus reward. I could risk going for the win, not having it work out, end up 30 something and lose the point lead going into Daytona or I could be a little bit more cautious, beat Denny by a couple spots, which is what we did.”

Hamlin finished fifth and trails Larson by 28-points going into NASCAR’s regular season finale, the Coke Zero 400, Saturday August 28th at 7:00 p.m. at Daytona International Speedway.

Michigan Cup Results

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