Already through to the next round of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after winning last week's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Penske's Joey Logano was still just as determined as ever to secure back-to-back victories with another success this week in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon - no matter what it took.

Logano ran in the top three for much of the 269-lap race, but then found it impossible to get around long time leader Matt Kenseth as the race approached the finish line. With Kenseth doing everything legally possible to block the #22 from getting past, Logano did the only move available to him - and pushed the Joe Gibbs Racing car out of the way.

Kenseth spinning out led to a final green-white-chequered overtime finish, but having already laid it all on the line there was no way Logano was going to be denied at this late stage and two laps later he was able to claim the chequered flag by almost half a second from Kenseth's team mate Denny Hamlin.

"A fun race. What a great Shell/Pennzoil Ford. These guys were really good, on top of it just like we've been this whole Chase. I couldn't be more proud of what we're doing right now," said Logano, who now has five wins in total in 2015.

"Our goal is still to win the race," he explained of his win-at-all-costs motivation this weekend. "Even though we're moved on to the next round, our goal is still to win that race and try to get some guys nervous for next week. That's kind of the strategy of this Chase and to be able to do that today, I couldn't be more proud."

Full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race results from Kansas Speedway.

Having claimed pole position on Friday evening, Penske's Brad Keselowski was able to stay out in front for the first 28 laps when the race went green. However, Keselowski had been given one of the worst pit stall selections as a penalty for the #2 team having repeated problems getting through technical inspection at previous races, and that handicap told as the race wore on meaning that he was never able to get back to the front after the first round of pit stops under caution for JJ Yeley spinning out and hitting the wall in turn 2 on lap 30

Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick took over control of the race despite complaining of an early vibration in the opening laps which appeared to be the result of a right rear wheel weight getting spun around. Harvick wasn't the only one suffering vibration problems during the afternoon, with Hendrick Motorsport's Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffering repeated recurrences which ended up putting the #88 off the lead lap by the end of the race.

Harvick stayed in charge until lap 50, but the fast-moving Logano had been cutting his way through the field and took charge through to the next caution for Tony Stewart spinning out on the backstretch which he quickly conceded had been down to human error, although other drivers became convinced that there was oil on the track.

Carl Edwards (JGR), Keselowski, Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers) and Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing) won the race off pit road with a two-tyre gambit with Kenseth pipping Logano for fifth. Kenseth made use of the full set of fresh rubber to take the lead from his team mate on lap 72. He stayed out for all but two of the next 106 laps, the brief interruptions being during pit stop cycles under cautions first for Ganassi's Kyle Larson spinning on lap 109 and the second for Austin Dillon hitting the wall on lap 156, both at the same spot that Stewart had earlier spin the Stewart-Hass Racing #14 which only reinforced concerns about fluid on the track in that section.

"We were a little tight that run, I was catching everybody in front of us," recalled Dillon after the race. "Man, what a bummer. I guess we just cut a right-front tyre. I don't know if I ran over something, or what. It showed a little heat the second run but not that much. We're carrying a lot of speed around the top of the track."

Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer triggered the fifth caution of the day on lap 172 when he took a violent hit into the wall on the backstretch - fortunately Kansas had extended its SAFER barriers since the last Cup race here and Bowyer was okay and quickly checked and released from the in-field care centre with no harm done.

"I was following Gordon there and I started to catch him back. I went in and he kind of took my line away and I tried to pull down and as soon as my headlight got out and got some air in it, man it turned me. I probably should have just spun to the inside, but I thought I could save it. Guess I didn't save it. Man, it hit hard ... I couldn't believe how fast it snapped. You usually can ride it along, but that thing came out from underneath of me so fast."

The restart on lap 178 saw Joey Logano go wheel-to-wheel for the lead and finally get the better of Kenseth, even as Logano's team mate and early race leader Keselowski got too high and made a glancing impact with the wall fortunately without doing terminal damage to the #2. Kenseth's team mate Kyle Busch also got too close to the wall and took a knock, just what he didn't need if he was to keep his Chase hopes alive after a troubled outing last week had put him into the drop zone in terms of making it through to the next round following the cut off after next week's race at Talladega.

Kenseth finally wrested back control from Logano on lap 195 and stayed there until it was time for a round of green flag pit stops: Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick), Ryan Blaney, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard (RCR) all had brief spells at the front before the sequences was complete and Kenseth was reinstalled at the front on lap 230. However it was a costly period for two of the Chase contenders, with Kevin Harvick dropping to 23rd after serving a penalty for dragging a fuel can out of his pit stall, and Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. was also hard hit when penalised for an uncontrolled tyres. There were concerns on the #18 pit wall as well with Kyle Busch reporting that engine temperatures were spiralling and the Toyota power unit looked set to blow up.

Busch's predicament was alleviated by a new caution on lap 244 after Justin Allgaier spun and hit the wall in turn 2 to bring out the yellows again. With only 12 cars on the lead lap at this stage, the leaders opted to pit for fresh tyres for the final charge - with the exception of Johnson, who decided to tough it out in favour of track position going to the green flag with 20 laps remaining.

Inevitably the #48 wasn't able to hold off the chasing cars on fresher tyres, and Kenseth immediately leapt to the front pursued by Logano. The Penske looked marginally the quicker car, but catching and passing are two very different things in motorsport and Logano was unable to find a way around the #20 - until lap 262, when Logano finally ran out of patience with Kenseth's blocking and applied the chrome horn to turn the JGR car around just enough to send it into a spin down the track. Kenseth was lucky not to hit anything or be hit as the caution flags came out, but it was a major setback and a huge disappointment for him as it knocked him out of any hope of ensuring that he would be assured of joining Logano in the next round of the Chase. Having led for a total of 153 laps, Kenseth would instead finish outside the top ten in 14th place.

"It was just hard racing. He raced me really hard, I raced him the same way he raced me," Logano insisted in victory lane. "He came up and started taking my air away, as he should, and I had to kind of adjust what I was doing and try to find a fast way back to him. I was able to get those runs back to him and get back to him.

"I got in the fence twice on the straightaways. He raced me hard and I raced him hard back. That's hard racing. That's the way I race. If I get raced like that, I'll race the same way. That's how I've always been and it will always be that way," he added. "I didn't think it was a good move when I hit the wall. I'm sure we'll talk about it. I felt like, 'Hey, I've got to race hard. I got in the fence twice,' so I wasn't going to put up with it."

Kenseth said he was in no mood to discuss things with Logano any time soon: "I won't talk to Joey, I don't have anything to talk to him about really. You make decisions every day, you make decisions every minute behind the wheel. To me strategically, that doesn't seem like such a great decision for him, but it's the one he made and that's how he wanted to win.

"It was really cut and dry. He picked my rear tyres off the ground and wrecked me so there's no debate about that one.

"I'm one of the only guys that I think hasn't been into yet with Joey and I've always raced him with a ton of respect, I've actually been one of his biggest fans - I'm certainly not any more, but I always was. It's a shame, I'm glad the car's not wrecked, we'll just go onto Talladega and race them there."

While Logano didn't need the win for his Chase progression - Charlotte had already seen to that seven days previously - the 25-year-old clearly wanted it as much as he'd ever wanted anything on the race track. It's his second win at Kansas in 13 races on the 1.5-mile intermediate oval, and his 13th victory in 250 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

"The fact that we're the only team that can relax right now is going to pay big dividends when we get to Martinsville," he pointed out. "Everyone [else] is a little bit nervous."

Denny Hamlin crossed the line in second, which also puts him into second place in the championship standings just 13 points behind Logano who had given him no chance to attack for the lead at the final restart.

"The #22 went early, right at the beginning of the zone," said Hamlin. "I had a hunch that he was going to go a little early. The gearing wasn't quite good enough to get me a launch there and the #22 was able to clear us and that was pretty much it.

"I've never been so disappointed to be second at Kansas - I would have taken second and ran with it before this weekend started," he admitted. "It was an interesting day for sure. We definitely fought our car early today, just couldn't do anything and battled back our track position. It's so hard to pass, we just fought the car and made it better and had some good restarts."

Behind Hamlin, Johnson did impressively well to hold on to third place despite running on older tyres, finishing ahead of team mate Kasey Kahne who like Johnson is already out of Chase contention.

"It was fun racing, this was such a great race car," said Johnson. "I think the #20 had a little more pace at the start of a run and then we would slowly catch back up to them. I really felt like we had a car we could win with today.

"The silver lining of not being in the Chase is having fast cars. We have had fast cars the last two weeks, but have had some weird mechanicals bite us. I think a win is right around the corner for this Lowe's team. I'm just thankful for my group back at Hendrick Motorsports and the hard work they are putting in at getting better and all these guys on the #48 team."

Kyle Busch's engine problems held off long enough for him to cross the line in fifth place, although such is the hole that he was already in coming into this weekend's race that he remains the wrong side of the Chase cut by six points heading to Talladega.

"We just kept fighting, kept trying to persevere through everything that was thrown at us," said Busch, thanking his crew chief for fixing the damage done when he hit the wall mid-race. "Adam Stevens and the guys did a really good job repairing the right side and gave us really good adjustments all day.

"Late in the going I must have had an exhaust issue or something and just started laying down the power. I was hoping it would go green and we'd salvage a seventh, but with the restarts there we were able to get a fifth out of the thing. Real proud of a top-five at Kansas!"

His brother Kurt finished one place back in sixth for Stewart-Haas Racing, the former Cup champion looking much better poised in the standings in third place behind Logano and Hamlin.

"It was a good battle. I'm real proud of this team. We are a very good team doing good things. Can we be great and finish great? That is our next step," said Kurt Busch. "Here we are we are going to Talladega with a plus next to our points situation to try to get through this next round. Real happy for the guys, it wasn't quite a top five today, but just as good."

Ryan Blaney finished in seventh place in an impressive weekend overall for the part-timer, edging out Chase contenders Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. The top ten was rounded out by Hendrick's Jeff Gordon.

"Not bad," summarised Blaney. "We started off fairly decent. I lost some track position at one point in the race. We kind of got behind on the car a little bit. I thought we were going to struggle after that ... The last re-start didn't go very well. Overall these guys put together a good race car and it's a great way to start the last four races of the season."

"It was kind of a rough day for us," said Keselowski. "We were not as fast today as what we hoped to be, but the #2 crew and my Miller Lite Ford team stayed with it and got a decent finish out of it to where we can go to Talladega and have a real shot at this."

"Absolutely horrible," was Gordon's brutal verdict about his day. "We were absolutely as far off as you could be. I don't know. The thing qualified amazing and ever since we put it in race trim it just is not comfortable, hasn't felt good, and we've struggled with it. That was one of the hardest top tens I've ever had to go through. I'm proud of the team, they fought hard and that's why we're where we're at, but gosh - that was ugly."

Ryan Newman dropped to 11th by the finish line just ahead of Circle Sport's Brian Scott and Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while a simmering Matt Kenseth ended up in 14th one place ahead of the equally frustrated Truex. Harvick ended up the first car a lap down in 16th place after his pit lane penalty had been compounded by a broken shifter handle, while the vibration issues plaguing the #88 meant that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the lowest-placed of the Chase contenders in 21st.

"It was tough day," sighed Truex. "We were in good shape before the penalty. We fought hard on the car all day got much better right when we got the penalty. We were fast at the end, but not enough time to get back up there.

"We are lucky to come out of it as good as we did," was Harvick's verdict. "It was just really hard to shift from second to third just because there was nothing to grab onto for leverage, but in the end the car vibrated all day I'm lucky something else didn't break ... A lot of things falling on and off and now we've got to go to Talladega and have a good week. All-in-all it could have been a lot worse."

"I was pretty sure we had an issue," said Earnhardt. "We had a lot of wheels shaking, tyres shaking because of the wheels spinning inside the tyre. Every set we had today except for one didn't shake. Every set shook, but it's a completely different kind of thing when the wheel is not tight. We don't know which one it was we came in so quick - it didn't beat up the wheel enough to give us a real indication of which one it was. I just knew we needed to come down pit road."

Unsurprisingly Earnhardt is now in dire need for an outright win next weekend at Talladega if he's to stay in the Chase, as he's 31 points outside the cut-off at this stage, while Kenseth is now even worse off after being denied a guaranteed progression by Logano's ungentlemanly late race excuse-me. Along with Kyle Busch, the other driver in the drop zone is Ryan Newman, while the driver on the bubble is Martin Truex Jr.

Everything to play for heading into the 500 restrictor plate event, the most notorious 'crapshoot' of the entire year. With the sole exception of Logano, absolutely no one can consider themselves remotely safe when it comes to Talladega Superspeedway...

Full race results from Kansas Speedway and updated NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship standings.

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