LAS VEGAS — The Pennzoil car won the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas. That’s right, Joey Logano was your winner on Sunday afternoon. It’s another victory for Team Penske.
During the last 15 laps, there was a three-way battle for the lead between Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. However, Logano’s margin of victory over Keselowski was 0.236 seconds.
“There’s been plenty of times here when we’ve led a lot of laps here, but we’ve never won, and that’s the most important stat to have,” Logano admitted. “I looked in the mirror, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is happening again.’ I was able to get a run on a lap car and be able to clear him [Brad]. Good thing this is 400 miles. 405 would have been too long.”
It was the first win for the 28-year-old driver at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He now leads in points standings by 2 points over Kevin Harvick, who finished in fourth.
Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 was a clean race with no major crashes or incidents. The only caution flags were at the end of the two stages. Kevin Harvick won the first stage of the race. Then, Joey Logano won the second stage of the race. Both earned 10 points for doing so.
“I’m all about the big smoky burnouts,” Logano explained. “I got dizzy and that was neat. I got to go drifting here. I’m getting good at it. I’ve got to show my skills off when we win.”
Teammate Brad Keselowski finished in second. Meanwhile, hometown favorite Kyle Busch finished in third after suffering a penalty for going too fast on pit road. His brother, Kurt Busch ended up fifth.
Sunday’s race lasted two hours, 35 minutes and 11 seconds. There were 19 lead changes among nine different drivers. The average speed during the race was 154.849 mph.
“It’s awesome…it was a tense race for me all day,” said Logano fan Cindy Rollin from Utah. “I love the Las Vegas Speedway. We come every year.”
Coming into Sunday’s race, Kyle Busch was hoping for a hometown sweep. He won Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity race and Friday’s STRAT 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series races. Busch has won 197 overall races with 51 of those coming in the MENCS prior to today.
Team Penske won the last race in Las Vegas, the South Point 400, back in September. The team celebrated its 500th win when Keselowski won that race. I asked team owner Roger Penske how special this track is to him.
“Your 500th win certainly goes down in the record books,” Penske said. “It took 50 years to achieve. This was a great win for the team. It shows that we’ve always had good cars here. Brad winning obviously this year. It’s amazing what we’re doing. We used to get our cars ready a week ahead of time and put them in a truck and send them out here. I think our cars left the shop 72 hours before we got here because we’re still making changes. That’s how fast we are learning on this package.”
The Pennzoil 400 was the first race under NASCAR’s new rules package. The goal is to bolster competition with enhanced aerodynamic and engine configurations. NASCAR officials hope it will deliver more close side-by-side racing. The baseline aero elements of the 2019 rules package are a taller 8-inch by 61-inch rear spoiler, a larger front splitter with a 2-inch overhang, and a wider radiator pan that measures 37 inches wide in the front tapering to 31 inches at the rear.
“It was a great race…Joey Logano pulled it out,” said racing fan Bailey Thompson from Las Vegas. “He had a great race, just another one for the win. I’m still a fan of Kyle Busch but Joey Logano definitely made it happen today. I’m proud of him for that. I’ve been out here countless times. It’s a great experience, a bunch of great people and some great overall fun.”
Next week: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix for the TicketGuardian 500. Then, I’ll be back for the Auto Club 400 in southern California on St. Patrick’s Day.
Watch my video report from the Pennzoil 400: