How the Pennzoil 400 — the third race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series — played out Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
WINNER: For the second week in a row, a Team Penske car went to victory lane.
Joey Logano held off teammate and Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski on the final lap to win for the first time in Las Vegas and the 22nd time in his Cup career.
“Brad and I were so evenly matched, and with the way the draft works, you just can’t drive away. I got tight the last five or six laps and Brad was catching me so quick. I got stuck behind a lapped car, and I was like, ‘Oh, no!’
“It was a lot of fun. It’s a nice feeling to get back in the playoffs. Team Penske 1-2 — it shows the speed we got. Brad was able to get it last week, and obviously with him second and us first, it was a great day for Team Penske.”
The reigning series champion, driving a Pennzoil Ford in the namesake race, led 86 of 267 laps.
“(Pennzoil) said this race is bigger than the Daytona 500 for them. I said we’re going to be doing donuts in the infield after this race.”
Kyle Busch, who was looking for a weekend sweep in his hometown after taking the Truck Series and Xfinity Series races, finished third. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came home sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.
MISSING YELLOWS: In what was expected to be a wild race, the caution flag was conspicuously absent beyond the stage breaks during the 267 laps.
STAGE 2: Logano won the second segment, holding off Harvick on the final lap to earn the playoff point. Truex was third, Keselowski fourth and Hamlin fifth. Elliott finished sixth, followed by Almirola, Stenhouse and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and William Byron.
BUSCH WHACKED: Race leader Kyle Busch was busted for entering pit road too fast during his green-flag pit stop in Stage 2 and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty but was able to get his lap back before the stage ended.
STAGE ONE: Harvick dominated the opening segment, taking the stage win and the playoff point. Kyle Busch finished second, Logano third, Hamlin fourth and Erik Jones fifth. Stenhouse in sixth, Truex in seventh, Elliott in eighth, Daniel Suarez in ninth and Keselowski rounded out the top 10.
PIT-STOP PROBLEMS: Kyle Larson was one of the first drivers to make a green-flag pit stop but was penalized for too many men over the wall. Austin Dillon, who pitted a handful of laps later, was hit with the same penalty. Michael McDowell was also penalized for a crewmember over the wall too soon. Ryan Blaney was forced to pit a second time when the valve stem got knocked off his left rear wheel, causing the tire to lose air.
BEFORE THE START: Harvick, who dominated this race one year ago, grabbed the pole in qualifying. Hamlin qualified second to start alongside on the front row. Ty Dillon, who qualified 14th, was sent to the rear after an engine change, and Landon Cassill, who qualified 31st, went to the rear with a gear change.