Harvick Wins Again in the Pennzoil 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts its western swing with a stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The third race of the 2018 season, the Pennzoil 400, sees Ryan Blaney(12) lead the field to the green flag. The race in the desert takes on extra importance this year. A change in the schedule has a second race scheduled for Vegas during the playoffs. Crew chiefs will be taking notes on what works, and what doesn’t. Prepping for a return to the track in September to kick off the 1st round of the postseason.

Photo Credit: John K Harrelson / NKP

Blaney led the first lap Of the Pennzoil 400. Last week’s winner Kevin Harvick(4) picked up where he left off in Atlanta and went to the lead on lap 2. Seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson’s(48) 2018 season is off to a tough start. Wrecking out of Daytona and never competitive in Atlanta, Johnson encountered more trouble this week in Vegas. His car failed pre-race inspection. Leading to the expulsion of his car chief and relegation to the rear of the field for the start of the race. On Lap 35 Harvick passed Johnson putting the 48 car a lap down early.

Stage 1

Photo Credit: NASCAR.com

By the end of Stage 1, Harvick lapped the majority of the field on 15 cars remained on the lead lap. Besides Johnson, other notables a lap down included Austin Dillon(3), Daniel Suarez(19), Ryan Newman(1), Alex Bowman(88), Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17), and Darrell Wallace Jr.(43). Six Fords(*) earned points in the Stage.

Car Driver Stage Points
4 Harvick* 10
78 Truex Jr. 9
42 Larson 8
12 Blaney* 7
22 Logano* 6
2 Keselowski* 5
41 Kurt Busch* 4
9 Chase Elliott 3
18 Kyle Busch 2
21 Paul Menard* 1

 

Austin Dillon returned to the lead lap as the lucky dog. So 16 cars started the next stage on the lead lap.

Stage 2

Photo Credit: John K Harrelson / NKP

During the Second Stage, more of the same. Harvick continued to lead and the race remained green with no incidents on track. Team Penske moved to the front with Blaney, Joey Logano(22), and Brad Keselowski(2) running second, third, and fourth most of the 80 lap run. As the laps wound down drivers began to jockey for Stage point positions.

Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin(11) dropped from the lead lap to leave 13 cars unlapped at the end of the Stage. Again six Fords(*) earned points in the Stage

Car Driver Stage Points
4 Harvick* 10
12 Blaney* 9
42 Larson 8
22 Logano* 7
18 Kyle Busch 6
2 Keselowski* 5
74 Truex Jr. 4
41 Kurt Busch* 3
9 Elliott 2
21 Menard* 1

 

A total of 107 laps make up the final stage of the race. Expect action to pick up during the run to the checkered flag. Austin Dillon earned the lucky dog and for the second time returned to the lead lap during the caution period.

The Final Stage

Logano, Kyle Busch(18), and Blaney beat Harvick out of the pits during the stage ending caution period pit stop. Chase Elliott(9) passed Harvick briefly on the restart until Harvick started his march back to the front.

The first accident related caution of the day flew on lap 176. Jammie McMurray(1) cut a tire and hit the wall on the backstretch. He demolished the right side of his car sliding along the wall and ended up parking it for the day.

On the restart from the McMurray caution, trouble occurred before the field completed a lap. Coming out of turn 4, Kurt Busch slid up the race track and made contact with Elliott. Sending both cars to the garage on the back of tow trucks.

 

The Finish

Harvick led 214 of the 267 laps in another dominating performance. Kyle Busch finished second almost three seconds behind. Larson finished third, Truex Jr. fourth, and Blaney in fifth. In another great week for the Blue Oval, six Fords finished in the top 10.

Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan / Getty Images

Next week the series stops in Phoenix at the re-branded ISM Speedway for the TicketGuardian 500. As the western swing continues race time is again 3:30 pm on Fox.

 

 

 

Results of the 2018 Pennzoil 400

Position Car Driver Behind Laps
1 4 Kevin Harvick 267
2 18 Kyle Busch 2.906 267
3 42 Kyle Larson 13.304 267
4 78 Martin Truex Jr. 15.166 267
5 12 Ryan Blaney 16.715 267
6 2 Brad Keselowski 18.562 267
7 22 Joey Logano 20.582 267
8 20 Erik Jones 20.898 267
9 21 Paul Menard 26.848 267
10 10 Aric Almirola -1 266
11 31 Ryan Newman -1 266
12 48 Jimmie Johnson -1 266
13 3 Austin Dillon -1 266
14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -2 265
15 37 Chris Buescher -2 265
16 88 Alex Bowman -2 265
17 11 Denny Hamlin -2 265
18 14 Clint Bowyer -2 265
19 95 Kasey Kahne -3 264
20 6 Trevor Bayne -3 264
21 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. -3 264
22 32 Matt DiBenedetto -3 264
23 38 David Ragan -3 264
24 13 Ty Dillon -3 264
25 51 Cole Custer -3 264
26 19 Daniel Suarez -4 263
27 24 William Byron -4 263
28 72 Cole Whitt -5 262
29 15 Ross Chastain -5 262
30 47 AJ Allmendinger -5 262
31 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt -12 255
32 55 Joey Gase -14 253
33 23 Gray Gaulding -72 195
34 9 Chase Elliott -84 183
35 41 Kurt Busch -84 183
36 1 Jamie McMurray -91 176
37 34 Michael McDowell -167 100

 

Points/Playoff Standings

Position Driver Points Wins
1 Kevin Harvick* 135 2
2 Austin Dillon 94 1
3 Joey Logano* 132 0
4 Ryan Blaney* 131 0
5 Martin Truex Jr. 115 0
6 Kyle Busch 104 0
7 Kyle Larson 104 0
8 Brad Keselowski* 99 0
9 Denny Hamlin 97 0
10 Paul Menard* 96 0
11 Clint Bowyer* 93 0
12 Aric Almirola* 93 0
13 Kurt Busch* 77 0
14 Ryan Newman 75 0
15 Darrell Wallace Jr. 68 0
16 Chris Buescher 67 0
Playoff Cut Line
17 Alex Bowman 67 0
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 66 0
19 Erik Jones 64 0
20 Michael McDowell* 53 0
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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of NASCAR and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at thelascopress.com with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.