Team Penske Wins Back-to-Back, Logano Captures Las Vegas

Ford Mustangs Dominate Again. Finish 1-2 and take 5 of the top 8 spots in Las Vegas

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 3, 2019

The final pieces of the new competition package take effect today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil 400. If qualifying and practice are an indication of what to expect, the fans are in for a real treat.

Image Courtesy of NASCAR.com

The changes to the race cars are designed to provide closer competition on the track. More side-by-side racing and more passing. How it plays out in actual racing remains to be seen. But, on-track activities so far this weekend have not disappointed.

Kevin Harvick(4) in his Stewart-Haas Ford Mustang sits on the pole. Denny Hamlin(11) joins him on the front row. But, all eyes are likely to be on Kyle Busch(18). He won Friday’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race. Came back Saturday and won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Can Kyle Busch pull the weekend sweep today?

Stages for the Pennzoil 400 are 80/80/107, 38 cars take the green flag today. The fuel window is between 55-65 laps.

The Start

Harvick speed off into turn 1 with the lead, Kyle Busch quickly moved into second. Three-wide and four-wide racing stretched back through the field. Side-by-side racing for position occurred all around the racetrack.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill / Getty Images

Stage 1

Pit stops began on Lap 40 as teams employed different pit strategies. Harvick pitted on Lap 44 and Joey Logano(22) inherited the lead. Logano pitted on Lap 51. While most of the field chose to split the Stage up near the halfway point, some drivers opted to stay on track and hope for a caution. On the mile and a half speedway, you go a lap down on a four-tire pit stop.

Daniel Suarez(41) stayed out until Lap 60, leading the pack in his 2019 Ford Performance Mustang. However, when pit stops cycled through, Harvick was back in front.

Stage 1 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
4 Kevin Harvick* 10
18 Kyle Busch 9
22 Joey Logano* 8
11 Denny Hamlin 7
20 Erik Jones 6
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 5
19 Martin Truex Jr. 4
9 Chase Elliott 3
41 Daniel Suarez* 2
2 Brad Keselowski* 1

* Ford Mustang Drivers

Stage 2

On the Stage ending pit stops, Brad Keselowski(2) took only two tires and exited the pits in first. Logano followed and the two Mustangs paced the field to the restart. Again wild restarts appear to be the order of the day. Even when the cars settle out the leaders swapped positions for several laps. After Keselowski led, Logano and Kyle Busch took turns at the front.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

Pit stops in Stage 2 for the leaders began on Lap 45. Kyle Busch ran five extra laps before pitting. Unfortunately for Busch, he was too fast entering pit road and had to serve a drive-through penalty. This put the race favorite a lap down to the rest of the contenders. Logano returned to the lead just prior to the end of the Stage, with Harvick close behind.

Stage 2 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
22 Joey Logano* 10
4 Kevin Harvick* 9
19 Martin Truex Jr. 8
2 Brad Keselowski* 7
11 Denny Hamlin 6
9 Chase Elliott 5
10 Aric Almirola* 4
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 3
88 Alex Bowman 2
48 Jimmy Johnson 1

* Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

Logano exited the pits first. Kurt Busch(1) did not pit so he held the lead on the restart. The pair ran side-by-side for several laps as the rest of the pack jostled for position behind the front row.

With 80 laps to go, it was Harvick back to the lead. With 62 laps to go Kyle Busch had recovered from his pit stop error and moved into 5th. As laps wound down to under 60 to go Logano and Harvick began swapping the lead. Leader pit stops began with 53 laps to go.

The final pit stops occurred with 41 laps to go. The top five were Logano, Keselowski, Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch.

The Finish

Teammates Logano and Penske swapped the lead several times in the closing laps. Allowing Harvick to get within a car length with 20 to go. Kyle Busch was lurking just two seconds back. Sensing it was go time, Logano moved to the top of the track and began to build a lead.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

Logano held on to take the win. Back-to-back for Team Penske after Keselowski won last week at Atlanta. Logano books his ticket to the playoffs where he will be able to defend his title from last year.

Ford Dominance

The 1-2 finish for Ford continues to show the Mustang’s early-season dominance. Five of the top seven finishing positions went to Blue Oval ponies.

Logano’s win also moved him to the top of the Points Standings.

Logano Celebrates Photo Courtesy of NASCAR.com

 

 

Results of the Pennzoil 400

Position Car Driver Behind Laps
1 22 Joey Logano 267
2 2 Brad Keselowski 0.236 267
3 18 Kyle Busch 1.419 267
4 4 Kevin Harvick 2.530 267
5 1 Kurt Busch 10.483 267
6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 19.287 267
7 10 Aric Almirola 19.562 267
8 19 Martin Truex Jr. 19.748 267
9 9 Chase Elliott 21.137 267
10 11 Denny Hamlin 21.951 267
11 88 Alex Bowman 22.383 267
12 42 Kyle Larson 23.380 267
13 20 Erik Jones 25.271 267
14 14 Clint Bowyer 27.236 267
15 21 Paul Menard 27.882 267
16 24 William Byron 28.192 267
17 41 Daniel Suarez 28.602 267
18 37 Chris Buescher 28.759 267
19 48 Jimmie Johnson -1 266
20 3 Austin Dillon -1 266
21 95 Matt DiBenedetto -1 266
22 12 Ryan Blaney -1 266
23 8 Daniel Hemric -2 265
24 6 Ryan Newman -2 265
25 47 Ryan Preece -2 265
26 43 Bubba Wallace -2 265
27 32 Corey LaJoie -3 264
28 38 David Ragan -3 264
29 13 Ty Dillon -3 264
30 34 Michael McDowell -4 263
31 96 Parker Kligerman -4 263
32 0 Landon Cassill -7 260
33 15 Ross Chastain -8 259
34 36 Matt Tifft -8 259
35 51 Cody Ware -14 253
36 77 Reed Sorenson -15 252
37 52 BJ McLeod -47 220
38 66 Joey Gase -256 10

 

Points/Playoff Standings

Rank Driver POINTS WINS
1 Joey Logano* 115 1
2 Denny Hamlin 114 1
3 Brad Keselowski* 107 1
4 Kyle Busch 112 0
5 Kevin Harvick* 112 0
6 Kyle Larson 102 0
7 Kurt Busch 95 0
8 Erik Jones 92 0
9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 91 0
10 Aric Almirola* 88 0
11 Martin Truex Jr. 86 0
12 Clint Bowyer* 83 0
13 Alex Bowman 83 0
14 Chase Elliott 73 0
15 Ryan Blaney* 69 0
16 William Byron 66 0
Playoff Cut Line
17 Jimmie Johnson 64 0
18 Ryan Newman 62 0
19 Daniel Suarez* 61 0
20 Paul Menard* 61 0

*Ford Mustang Drivers