(NASCAR.com) Joey Logano held off Kevin Harvick by a scant .312 seconds in a high-speed duel to the checkered flag to win the Hollywood Casino 400 Playoff race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday and earn the first position in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 that will settle the season title Nov. 8 at Phoenix Raceway.
Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford beat Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford off pit lane and then successfully held off the 2020 regular-season champion for the final 45 thrilling laps – the two former series champions putting on a master class in pursuit and defense.
Sunday’s win marked Logano’s 26th career NASCAR Cup Series win and third victory of the year, but his first since competition resumed under the COVID-19 pandemic conditions. Of note, the 30-year-old Connecticut native’s last win this season came at championship venue Phoenix Raceway in March.
Alex Bowman, Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five at Kansas with Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Christopher Bell completing the top 10.
With the victory, Logano secured his place in the title race. Harvick is now second in the playoff outlook with a healthy 41-point edge on fifth-place Chase Elliott. Hamlin is third in the standings, 20 points up on Elliott in the first spot outside the Championship 4 cutoff. Keselowski, in the final transfer position, is eight points up on Elliott.
Despite his third-place finish, Bowman is ranked sixth, 27 points behind fourth-place Keselowski. Truex, who made a valiant run up through the field to finish ninth after starting last, is now seventh, 31 points below the cutoff. Kurt Busch is in a must-win situation with a 73-point deficit.
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