Coca-Cola Racing Family Roundup: Kansas
October 07, 2013, Taylor Starer, NASCAR.com
With the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway being the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this season, drivers' outcomes and triumphs are becoming more crucial to their chances for the Cup.
Chase rookie Joey Logano led the Coca-Cola Racing Family with a fourth-place finish at Kansas Speedway and for the first time since the start of the Chase, he was able to move up in the standings.
Fellow Chaser Greg Biffle made his way though traffic on Sunday after starting 26th and eventually finished 13th. Unfortunately, his hard effort to make it into the top 10 wasn’t recognized in the standings and he saw no change this week.
A roundup of the Coca-Cola Racing Family in order of how they finished at Kansas:
Joey Logano (No. 22)
Penske Racing, Ford
Recap: The Chase rookie jumped two positions in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to 10th. Logano saw his first top-five finish at Kansas by finishing fourth.
Quotable: "It was pretty crazy out there. 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 and you are going to have a crash. We proved that fact multiple times today. Everyone did a good job on the Shell Pennzoil Ford and gave me a really fast car and I feel like if you put it in the lead it was going to win the race but if you put it fourth it was going to finish fourth. It was hard to pass cars and I really feel like the 48 was probably the fastest car out there. Todd did a good job calling the race and trying to figure out the strategy. I couldn't imagine trying to call a race like this. It is nuts because one minute you are first and the next you are 15th and you hope you cycle out to the lead at the end."
His standing: Logano is 10th in the standings with 2,124 points.
Outlook: Moving forward, Logano has seen three top-five finishes at Charlotte and will need to have more performances like Kansas in order to get back to a more competitive playing field with the other Chase contenders.
Greg Biffle (No. 16)
Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
Recap: Biffle qualified 26th for the Hollywood Casino 400, but unfortunately for the Roush Fenway Racing team, a 13th-place finish will have to do. Biffle saw no change in the standings this race, while a handful of his fellow Chase contenders saw positive movement.
Quotable: "We weren't very good all weekend. I am really happy with a 13th-place finish to be honest with you. We fought hard to get that. I drove hard and we had about a 30th-place car and finished 13th with it, so I am pretty happy with that."
His standing: Biffle is sixth in the standings with 2,139 points.
Outlook: Biffle knows he has to step it up. Even though they fought hard for 13th, they will have to fight even harder at Charlotte to start making an impact in the standings.
Denny Hamlin (No. 11)
Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
Recap: Qualifying 10th, Hamlin had as good as a chance as any other driver to come out on top. However, his performance at Kansas (23rd) and at the past few races can only make you wonder if Hamlin has lost hope in trying to prove himself.
Quotable: Hamlin was unavailable for comment.
His standing: Hamlin is 25th in the standings with 573 points.
Outlook: Hamlin has yet to claim a win at Charlotte in his Sprint Cup career, but he did win the pole earlier this year and eventually finished fourth. Perhaps a quick reminder of what he's capable of will motivate him to be more aggressive on the track.
Ryan Newman (No. 39)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Everything was going fine for Newman in the Hollywood Casino 400 until Lap 136 when No. 51 Justin Allgaier made contact with Newman on a spin out and sent both drivers to the garage with significant damage.
Quotable: "There's not much to say other than we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in an accident not of our making."
His standing: Newman is 12th in the standings with 2,110 points.
Outlook: The best part about hitting rock bottom is there's no where to go but up. In Newman's case, just about anything could be better than his 35th-place finish at Kansas and perhaps he could see his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway next weekend.
Danica Patrick (No. 10)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Patrick’s day at Kansas ended early after she got loose on the first lap and slammed into the wall. This was Patrick’s 100th Sprint Cup Series career start, but a combination of new tires and unfortunate handling sent her to the garage and eventually out of the race with a 43rd-place finish.
Quotable: "I knew that, going into the race based on practice and everything we've seen from practice in Cup to the Nationwide race, losing grip was going to be not that hard to do," Patrick said. "And so -- I said that before the race even -- I said make sure that we're on top of who is on my door and who is behind me. And I knew all that was going to be happening on the start. And I had enough momentum to go to the middle because I got a run on the car in front of me but I had to wait past the start-finish line. I lifted going into Turn 1 and all I can say is that, you know, I didn’t try and do anything. I just found myself sideways in the middle of the corner and that was it."
Her standing: Patrick is 28th in the standings with 530 points.
Outlook: Going into Charlotte, Danica's best finish at that track is 29th. There is plenty of room for improvement, especially if she wants a shot at Rookie of the Year against beau, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Tony Stewart (No. 14)
Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
Recap: Stewart missed his ninth consecutive race this past weekend and watched Mark Martin pilot his No. 14 Chevrolet to a 22nd-place finish. Stewart is still nursing his broken leg and won’t return in 2013.
His standing: Stewart is 24th in the standings with 594 points.
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