By: Ethyn Reasoner
Joey Logano won the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 18. Logano won his second-consecutive race of the Chase and fifth overall Sprint Cup Series win of 2015.
Logano did not win without controversy. In the closing laps, Logano was battling Chase contender and 2003 champion Matt Kenseth for the lead.
After battling each other for over 10 laps, Logano hit Kenseth’s car entering turn one, and Kenseth spun.
Logano went on to win after holding off Denny Hamlin on the restart. Logano also won the Chase race at Kansas Speedway in October 2014.
The main controversy surrounding the incident between Kenseth and Logano is that the contact was considered unnecessary, but many people have defended both drivers’ actions.
After a poor finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 11, Kenseth was over 30 points behind the eighth-place elimination line with two races left in the Contender Round, which would be very difficult to overcome in two races.
The only way to guarantee a spot in the next round is by winning one of the three races in the round. That way, a winner’s finishes in the other two races do not matter.
Kenseth was in position to win at Kansas. As Logano closed in, Kenseth began blocking him in order to prevent Logano from passing him on the outside.
One lap on the frontstretch, Kenseth swerved to block Logano at the exit of the tri-oval. While they did not make contact with each other at first, I believe Kenseth’s move disturbed the air around Logano’s, and his car scraped the wall.
I got the impression that Logano was frustrated by Kenseth’s moves. As soon as his car was damaged, he decided that he had enough.
Kenseth was trying to hold off Logano because, like almost any racecar driver, he wanted to win the race. A win at Kansas would have meant that Kenseth’s position in the points standings would not have mattered.
Winning in the Contender Round means that your finish at the wildcard race that Talladega has become has no effect on your bid to become the Sprint Cup champion.
Ultimately, the contact between Logano and Kenseth was just a “racing incident,” to me. That means that both drivers were at fault for what happened to an extent, but they were also racing hard while battling for the win.
Coverage of the CampingWorld.com 500 from Talladega Superspeedway will begin at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. After this race is completed, we will know the eight drivers who qualify for the Eliminator Round of the Chase.