Logano Victorious in Vegas

A week after the Daytona 500 ended in what very easily could have been tragedy, with Ryan Newman’s #6 going airborne and landing on it’s roof,  the NASCAR Cup Series took to the track in Sin City for the second round of the 2020 season.

Qualifying on Saturday was cancelled due to rain, so the starting lineup was determined by last year’s owner points, which put Kyle Busch in pole position. However, Busch’s #18 Camry failed pre-race inspection 3 times, meaning he had to start at the back of the field along with 2 of his Toyota teammates (#11 of Denny Hamlin and #95 of Christopher Bell). When all penalties were decided, it was Martin Truex Jr in the #19 who led the field to green.

CAUTION – LAP 1: The first 6 rows fanned out 3 and 4-wide when the green flag flew. Truex immediately fell back to the 5th position while Kevin Harvick took the lead. At the back of the pack, the #96 of Daniel Suarez had a power issue that prevented him from crossing the start line, causing a yellow flag before the first lap was even complete.

LAP 5: On the restart, the #22 of Joey Logano pulled away with the top spot when Harvick lost momentum in the high lane.

LAP 12: Thanks to NASCAR’s new aero package, the top 10 cars stayed within striking distance of each other. Kevin Harvick got a run on Logano and passed the #22 on the front stretch to reclaim the lead.

COMPETITION CAUTION – LAP 25: The yellow flag waved for the competition caution to check tire wear due to rain washing the track clean the day prior. Harvick held onto the lead on pit road and again on the restart. A battle broke out between the #9 of Chase Elliott, the #12 of Ryan Blaney, and the #22 of Logano as the trio jockeyed for the 3rd position.

LAP 40: The battle finally concluded with Elliott winning P3 while Blaney and Logano settled into 4th and 5th respectively.

LAP 67: Elliott, having hustled passed Truex in 2nd, was able to take the lead from Harvick as well. The #9 was running lap times that were 2-tenths of a second faster than the rest of the field.

STAGE 1 CONCLUSION – LAP 80: Elliott won the stage, followed by Martin Truex, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano in the top 5.

LAP 103: Having lost the lead on the restart, the #9 Camaro fought back on inside of Harvick to reclaim the top spot. Once again, Elliott began to pull away with the lead as Harvick dropped through the field to 5th place.  This left Truex in second.

LAP 122: Green flag pit stops began with Christopher Bell in the #95. Two laps later, Elliott surrendered the lead and came to pit road as well. Truex, who had pitted a lap sooner than Elliott cycled out ahead of Elliott, but both drivers were still behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr and John Nemechek, both of whom had opted to stay out.

LAP 142: With Stenhouse still in the lead, Elliott got a major run coming off Turn 4 and passed Truex on the front stretch to take what would become the top spot.

LAP 146: Stenhouse finally went to pit road, officially giving Elliott the lead. Last week’s Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin had issues during his pit stop that put him at the back of the pack and in danger of being put a lap down. Hamlin put up a hard fight with Elliott has he tried to stay on the lead lap, but was eventually overtaken with a lap remaining in the stage.

CAUTION – LAP 159: The yellow waved when the #95 of Christopher Bell got loose in Turn 2 and slid sideways to the apron. Bell’s Toyota then snapped to the right and sent the rookie head-first into the outside SAFER barrier.

STAGE 2 CONCLUSION – LAP 160: The segment ended under caution with Chase Elliott sweeping the second stage as well, and earning another playoff point. Ryan Blaney, Truex, William Byron, and Joey Logano rounded out the top 5.

Truex had to pit twice at the stage break, the second time to tighten lugnuts on the left front tire. This took him out of contention to challenge for the win as he was unable to recover.

CAUTION – LAP 168: On the restart, rookie John H Nemechek in the #38 got loose in Turn 2 and brought out the 3rd caution of the day.

CAUTION – LAP 177: In Turn 4, the #19 of Truex got into the wall after the right front tire blew. The entire right side of Truex’s Toyota Camry was badly scraped and it severly hindered his performance throughout the rest of the race.

LAP 182: Following the pit stops under yellow, the restart saw Ryan Blaney take the lead though he was quickly challenged by Kevin Harvick. Elliott and Logano battled for 3rd place.

LAP 201: The Blaney/Harvick fight continued for several laps before Blaney finally cleared the #4 of Harvick.  However, Blaney’s reign was short-lived when he was swiftly caught by Chase Elliott. The two cars made contact a few times before Elliott took over P1 and Blaney began to fade.

LAP 210: Green flag pit stops began with Aric Almirola as the first down pit road. Blaney and Elliott came in at the same time, with Blaney beating the #9 off pit road. Once again, Ricky Stenhouse stayed out.

CAUTION – LAP 220: The yellow came out when Elliott’s left rear tire went down and caused him to spin in Turn 1. The #9 scraped the wall which caused numerous pit stops to fix the damage and put an end to Elliott’s dominant performace as he went a lap down.

LAP 226: The restart saw the #22 of Joey Logano run away with the lead with Harvick in hot pursuit.

LAP 248: Alex Bowman’s #88 suddenly came to life and started charging  through the field. The Hendrick Motorsport driver went from P7 to P2 in just 11 laps.

LAP  254: Logano was passed by his teammate, Ryan Blaney in the #12. Blaney was then under fire from Alex Bowman who was gaining on the #12 at a steady rate.

CAUTION – LAP 261: The caution came out for the #6 of Ross Chastain who spun in Turn 2. The #6 Ford is usually driven by Ryan Newman, however due to his accident the week prior, it was decided Newman would not race in Vegas.  Ross Chastain was called on to fill the seat. Bowman and Blaney went to pit road under the yellow flag while Logano and Stenhouse stayed out.

LAP 265: With 2 laps remaining, the race restarted with Logano in the lead. The #22 was pushed way out infront of the field by Stenhouse, leaving the rest of the drivers to battle behind them.

CAUTION – FINAL LAP – LAP 267: Chaos ensued as cars went 6-wide coming to the white flag. William Byron’s tire blew causing him to slide back from his 4th place restart position. This triggered an accident on the front stretch that involved Ryan Blaney, John Nemechek, Erik Jones, Martin Truex, and a few others, and brought out the final caution of the day.

CHECKERED FLAG: The race ended under yellow, giving Joey Logano his second win in a row at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

RESULTS:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Matt DiBenedetto
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Bubba Wallace
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Kyle Larson
  10. Ty Dillon
  11. Ryan Blaney
  12. Clint Bowyer
  13. Alex Bowman
  14. Chris Buescher
  15. Kyle Busch
  16. Corey LaJoie
  17. Denny Hamlin
  18. Tyler Reddick
  19. Cole Custer
  20. Martin Truex Jr
  21. Aric Almirola
  22. William Byron
  23. Erik Jones
  24. John H Nemechek
  25. Kurt Busch
  26. Chase Elliott
  27. Ross Chastain
  28. JJ Yeley
  29. Brennan Poole
  30. Daniel Suarez
  31. Joey Gase
  32. Quin Houff
  33. Christopher Bell
  34. Reed Sorenson
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. Michael McDowell
  37. Ryan Preece
  38. Timmy Hill

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