Joey Logano grabbed the first berth into the next round of NASCAR’s championship race with a victory Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.
Logano’s win advanced him into the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, which begins after stops at Charlotte and Talladega. Four drivers will be cut from the 12-driver field after Talladega.
It was Logano’s career-best fifth win of the season and ties with him Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski for most in the Sprint Cup Series.
Kyle Larson – who is not part of the Chase – finished second and was followed by championship-eligible driver Kyle Busch, who finished a career-best third at a track where he has continuously seen his hopes fall apart.
“I won today,” Busch said, “I just didn’t get champagne and a trophy.”
Kansas is noted for destroying the championship chances of many a driver, and Sunday saw four Chase drivers finish 22nd or worse. That included three of the Hendrick Motorsports cars – and defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson, who spun during Friday qualifying and started 32nd, was mired in thick traffic when he was hit by Greg Biffle just 85 laps into the race. He was forced to take his Chevrolet to the garage for repairs and finished 40th.
Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading when a flat tire caused him to hit the wall. He finished 39th after leading 45 laps in what had been shaping up to be his strongest race so far in this Chase.
“Just the whole surface of the tire unwound like a string. It just came off the tire and it popped off the corner,” said Earnhardt. “Man, that was a great race car. We hadn’t been running very good the last several weeks.”
Keselowski was the next to suffer a tire problem that sent him into the wall. He finished 36th.
“Russian Roulette,” Keselowski said, “and it was our turn.”
Kasey Kahne was the third Hendrick car to see his day fall apart when he hit the wall. He was 22nd.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won a rain-shortened Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, claiming his third straight Formula One victory.
The race was race marred by a serious crash involving Marussia drive Jules Bianchi.
With Hamilton leading teammate Nico Rosberg, a red flag ended the race on the 44th of 53 laps due to the crash involving Bianchi. With heavy rain falling and visibility poor, race officials elected not to re-start and Hamilton was declared the winner. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel finished third.
Hamilton widened his lead over Rosberg in the race for the drivers’ championship but the race celebrations were subdued as Bianchi in critical condition.
The race was stopped after 44 laps after Bianchi crashed at Turn 7.
Matt Hagan won the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, to take the Funny Car points lead, his engine exploding as he crossed the finish line.
Hagan had a 4.333-second pass at 215.00 mph in a Dodge Charger to beat Tommy Johnson Jr. Hagan raced to his third victory of the season and second in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. He opened a 36-point advantage over 16-time series champion John Force with two events left.
Tony Schumacher won in Top Fuel, Rodger Brogdon in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the fourth Countdown event.
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