KANSAS CITY, Kan. -  Team Penske driver Joey Logano's consistency helped him open the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 12-driver Contender Round with his series victory at Kansas Speedway in a 400-mile tilt in which championship favorites encountered trouble.

Logano's fifth victory ties him with teammate Brad Keselowski for the season series victories lead, moves him into sole possession of the season top-five finish lead with 14 and ties him with Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) driver Jeff Gordon for the season series lead in top-10 finishes with 19 through 30 events.

The Team Penske No. 22 and Logano, who led six times for a race-best 122 laps, including 88 of the closing 100 circuits, held off second-place finishing Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) rookie Kyle Larson and his No. 42 by 0.479 of a second at the finish line.

"I'm having a blast this year," Logano said. "We got a real shot to win this championship. I feel like we're one of the teams to beat." 

Logano and Larson advanced to the top two positions off a Lap 240 restart. Logano raced to the lead past Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman and the No. 31 on Lap 240. Larson took second-place from Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and the No. 18 on Lap 242.

"I felt whoever was out in front there was going to win that race," Logano said.

The premonition proved correct as the No. 22 was able to hold off the No. 42 in closing segments of the 267-mile battle during which Larson remained a prominent presence in Logano's rear-view mirror while eroding a leading advantage that was once greater than one second.

"We were up in the top (groove) there and we were able to make our cars pretty equal," Logano said. "I was able to have a good start, get the lead and basically take his air away."

Larson collected his second runner-up finish in his past three series starts. He's notched three top-three and four top-10 finishes in his past four series events.

"I was hoping I could get a run on him (Logano) in traffic, but all the lappers were giving us the top, which made it easier for him run there," Larson said. "Another second, we can't be too disappointed in it. The wins will be coming. I just have to be patient."

Busch took the checkered flag third and was followed across the finish line by Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr., in fourth and Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards in fifth.

Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick, Keselowski, Gordon, along his teammates Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kasey Kahne, were part of a parade of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup favorites whose race runs were derailed by on-track incidents.

Harvick, who led a race-best eight times for 61 laps, raced third on Lap 210, but surrendered the track position six laps later when he determined his No. 4 car's steering wasn't responding because it had a flat tire. He rallied to a 12th-place finish and is sixth in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Contender Round standings.

 "I thought I had a flat tire and pitted because you see all the trouble that is going on," Harvick said. "So, missed it on the handling a little bit today. We qualified well and had good track position.  That saved us in the beginning of the race and when I thought I had a flat, it just got us behind."

 Keselowski had a solid top-10 run derailed by a failed tire that caused his No. 2 to connect with the Turn 2 wall on Lap 161. He placed 36th in the race and is 10th in the Contender Round standings.

"It was Russian Roulette and it was our turn," Keselowski said.

Gordon, who raced fourth on Lap 75, saw his promising day begin to erode when his No. 24 was hit from behind by the No. 1 of CGR's Jamie McMurray. Gordon rebounded and raced seventh on Lap 225, but the No. 24 car's performance faded down the stretch. He placed 14th and is eighth in the standings.

"It (the car) was a handful. We were having a pretty solid day until the No. 1 car got loose, got into our left rear and got me in the wall; (he) was just way over his head, "Gordon said. "We had a little damage but we just lost all that track position. It is so hard to get it back at this place. We somewhat got it back; and on that last restart, I was just real loose. We just fell back.  

“A lot of people had trouble today. So today was a real survival day. We did that. It just felt like we could have finished a lot better than that. We had a good racecar. We actually really had a great racecar.”

Six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson is in the 12th and last Contender Round position following his 40th-place finish. His No. 48 was a major player in the race's third caution period. Greg Biffle's No. 16 slid in on the backstretch and made contact with the No. 48's rear bumper, sending both reeling toward the interior retaining wall. The No. 48 made contact with the wall while Biffle's avoided further contact.

"Just got tagged in the left-rear," Johnson said. "I was cruising along the top, thought everything was fine, and then found myself sideways down the back straightaway. Well, it just means we've got to be on our game at Charlotte and Talladega. There is still a lot of racing left. Stuff can happen. We’ll do our best to get on track and then certainly need W’s, I would assume, going forward.”

Kahne's troubles weren't limited to rear-end mechanical failure that began the final caution period. He also experienced tire issues earlier in the race. He placed 22nd and is ninth the series standings.

"The whole race was good except when running third, there was something going on," Kahne said. "The last half of the run I could usually catch the leaders. I was slowly reeling them back in and something happened to my tire. I was just ready to crash for a lap and made it to pit road before it blew. I tried to come from 19th and on the outside I passed five or six cars and was feeling pretty good and lost the back and hit the wall. My day was over at that point. We just want to go win Charlotte. If I won today, my thoughts would have been to go win Charlotte. It’s been a while since we won there and I know that we can."

Earnhardt Jr., had his second stint in the race lead end on Lap 123 when his car made contact with the Turn 4 wall following a tire failure. He placed 39th and is 11th in the series standings.

"The tread unwound off the tire going into three all the way through the middle of the corner," he said. "I felt the tire unwinding and the surface of the tire was gone by the time I got to the exit of the corner and it blew. Man, that was a great racecar. This is going to hurt us in the points, obviously, but we’ve got a lot of racing left and a lot of racing to win. We’re running good."

The series makes its final visit of the season to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the only night race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

- Kentucky Speedway -