Logano Scores First Win Of Season

Arnold Nichols
March 6, 2019

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano led team-mate Brad Keselowski in a close finish at Las Vegas to win his first race of the 2019 season. Once out front for a final time, the defending series championship pulled away a bit but then had to hold on to notch a.23-second victory over his teammate.

Despite battling with stage one victor Kevin Harvick at the start of the final segment, Atlanta race-winner Keselowski emerged as Logano's chief challenger in the latter stages of the race. During one pit stop, the team made one adjustment that made the vehicle really tight in practice. The two of them fought for the win, with Logano holding off his teammate in the final laps.

There were no cautions in Sunday's Penzoil 400 for race incidents, just the two yellow flags to end each stage.

Falling a lap down and as low as 24th on the leaderboard, Busch score no points in Stage 2 and didn't rejoin the top 10 until past the Lap 170 mark. He had an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 14 for a loose wheel that sent him a lap down.

Kyle Larson was hurt by a pit-road penalty for the second straight week.

As he and Logano reached lapped cars, Busch claimed the lead on lap 120 before preparing for the next green flag pit cycle.

Harvick lost three positions on pit road between the first two stages, one of those to Keselowski after Keselowski took only two tires.

Logano moved into the overall series points lead, jumping two points ahead of Kevin Harvick. He was passed by Logano and Kyle Busch on lap 97, and on lap 121, Busch took the lead.

"I thought we were going to eat him up much quicker than we did", Logano said of Busch's decision to remain out front.

Busch and crew chief Matt McCall opted to stay on track as long as possible during the second stage of the race, pitting for tires and fuel with 15 laps left in the segment. "We are playing it smart", Busch said after the race. We tried a different brake package this weekend and I was trying to make up time in order to get a bigger jump on the guys behind me coming to pit road there; I just ruined it for us.

"There towards the end, the way this drafting package, these rules work, it was intense", Logano said. In the meantime, William Byron stayed out on an alternate pit strategy to take the top spot.

2017 Cup series champion Martin Truex Jr mirrored Almirola's rise in the #19 JGR, climbing from 23rd to eighth, just ahead of Chase Elliott's Chevrolet.

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