KANSAS CITY, Kan.- With 75 laps left in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch got aggressive.
Powering away from the start/finish line after a restart on Lap 192, the two Chevrolet drivers traded positions and traded paint before Busch ultimately got the upper hand. After the final restart on Lap 249, the two former champions raced hard for the runner-up position.
Busch finished second to Kevin Harvick in the fourth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Gordon ran third. Despite their relative success, the drivers had an animated discussion on pit road after they climbed from their cars.
"These restarts were so tough out there," Gordon said. "Everybody is just trying to get every position they could. I got in the outside lane there one time and he (Busch) just came up, and the next lap I got to his bumper and got him loose. I guess that kind of led to him wanting to run into me on the right side on my door.
"These cars are so sensitive aerodynamic wise you just can't have any little damage like that. It did seem to affect our car. No, I just wanted to have a good civil conversation with Kurt. We did. He did a great job, so did Kevin, and we're really proud to finish third today."
Busch urged reporters not to make a big issue out of what he considered hard racing.
"Restarts were treacherous today, and that's where the No. 24 and I raced really hard today," Busch said. "He was on the outside, hooked his nose right on our rear spoiler, and I was just sliding. He thought I was pinching him up into the wall. I'm like 'No, you've got to give an inch to get an inch,'--then it just turned into a bit of rough play.
"The important thing about us finishing second and third that (it was) good racing. (We don't) Need the media to blow it out of proportion and to say two guys are fighting."
ANOTHER TOP FIVE FOR LOGANO
After Joey Logano suffered an engine failure in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, most analysts wrote off his championship chances.
Since then, the 22-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver has been doing everything with his power to prove them wrong.
In Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway, Logano qualified fifth and finished fourth, surviving a succession of frenetic restarts made necessary by a record 15 caution flags. Logano gained two positions to 10th in the standings after his second straight top five and now trails leader Matt Kenseth by 59 points with six races left.
"It was pretty crazy out there," Logano said after the race. "Every restart, you had to be so aggressive to pass people, because that was your best shot to pass them--and everyone realized it. There wasn't much grip out there, and everyone was doing that (being aggressive), and you are going to have a crash. We proved that fact multiple times today.
"I couldn't imaging trying to call a race like this (from a crew chief's perspective). It's nuts, because one minute you're first, and the next you're 15th, and you hope you cycle out to the lead at the end."
SHORT RACE FOR PATRICK
The promise that Danica Patrick had shown in two excellent practices on Saturday evaporated in the first corner of Sunday's race.
Patrick lost control of her No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in Turn 1 of the opening lap, slammed the wall and fell out of the race in last place (43rd), her worst finish to date in the Sprint Cup Series.
"Either I drove in too hard, or the air is just that challenging, or we were a little loose," Patrick said after exiting the infield care center. "I don't know. I didn't even have my front bead blowers on yet, just trying to build heat in the front tires.
"It's just a shame, because we were having a better weekend. (Saturday) was a pretty good day for us. We felt really confident today that we were going to be able to have a good day. My pit road crew is so good I knew that was going to be something to look forward to.
"I'm really sorry. I'm really bummed. I just was looking forward to having a good day and it's over within a matter of feet."