Logano Takes the Pennzoil 400 at LVMS

Peter Casey, USA Today

LAS VEGAS< NV – RIS – Joey Logano missed a strategy call from his crew chief, but won the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup race anyway.  Logano still wound up in victory lane for the second year in a row, winning a two-lap sprint to the finish that ended under caution after Logano had moved out to a large lead.

A caution with six laps remaining forced teams to make strategic decisions and crew chief Paul Wolfe told Logano to come to pit road for new tires. Logano didn’t hear Wolfe and remained on track, a move that cycled him into the lead but put him in position to hold off a slew of contenders on fresh tires.

Logano knew it was critical to get his Ford separated from the pack quickly on the restart to have any shot at the win.

“Clean air was going to be key with old tires,” he said. “If I got swallowed up by a couple cars, I was just going to fall backwards really quick.”

Logano got a push from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the restart with two laps remaining, then threw a block on William Byron to maintain his position out front that Logano called “the winning move.

Team Penske switched all the crew chiefs around I the off-season, and this miscommunication may be the reason Logano won his second straight spring race at the speedway.

Sunday’s race saw significantly less contact between drivers after Monday’s brutal Daytona 500. There were no major wrecks this weekend, but on two restarts cars immediately ran three and four-wide.

Then, in the final two laps off the restart, Logano sprinted ahead and then won under caution on the last lap for his first victory of the season, while DiBenedetto squeezed past Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron. DiBenedetto moved into second place, fending off Stenhouse Jr.

DiBenedetto’s finish was special. Racing for the Wood Brothers is coveted, and when Paul Menard, driver of the No.21, decided to retire, DiBenedetto was first on their list since his contract had not been renewed with his former team.

Until late in the third stage, Chase Elliott led most of the race, but a flat tire caused him to pull out before the final caution. Elliott won both the first and second stages, while Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson, William Byron and Alex Bowman all finished in the top 10 in those stages.  In the end, though, it was Logano taking home the trophy,

The teams now head to Fontana, California and Auto Club Speedway for another 400-mile race next week.  Hopefully it will be a little less wet there.  They say it never rains in California (at least that’s what the song says).  The ways this season has started, it might be wise to cross your fingers starting now.

Unofficial Race Results: 23rd Annual Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, February 23, 2020, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Fin, St, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 5, Joey Logano, 22, Pennzoil Ford, 267, 5, 5, 54, 5, 5, 52, Running
2) 19, Matt DiBenedetto, 21, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, 267, , , , , , 35, Running
3) 26, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 47, Kroger Chevrolet, 267, , 3, 30, , , 34, Running
4) 21, Austin Dillon, 3, Bass Pro Shops/Tracker OffRoad Chevrolet, 267, , 1, 1, , , 33, Running
5) 18, Jimmie Johnson, 48, Ally Chevrolet, 267, 9, , , , 7, 38, Running
6) 27, Bubba Wallace, 43, Coke Energy Chevrolet, 267, , , , , , 31, Running
7) 8, Brad Keselowski, 2, Discount Tire Ford, 267, , , , , , 30, Running
8) 3, Kevin Harvick, 4, Busch Light Ford, 267, 3, 5, 92, , 6, 42, Running
9) 6, Kyle Larson, 42, Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 267, 7, , , , 8, 35, Running
10) 24, Ty Dillon, 13, GEICO Chevrolet, 267, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 7, Ryan Blaney, 12, Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 267, 4, 5, 19, , 2, 42, Running
12) 9, Clint Bowyer, 14, BlueDEF Ford, 267, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 12, Alex Bowman, 88, Llumar Chevrolet, 267, 8, , , , 9, 29, Running
14) 23, Chris Buescher, 17, Fastenal Ford, 267, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 1, Kyle Busch, 18, Snickers White Toyota, 267, , , , , 10, 23, Running
16) 30, Corey LaJoie, 32, Schluter Systems Ford, 267, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 4, Denny Hamlin, 11, FedEx Ground Toyota, 267, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 25, Tyler Reddick #, 8, TAME The BEAST Chevrolet, 267, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 17, Cole Custer #, 41, Production Alliance Group/Haas Ford, 267, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 2, Martin Truex Jr., 19, Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 267, 2, 1, 1, , 3, 34, Running
21) 14, Aric Almirola, 10, Smithfield Ford, 267, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 11, William Byron, 24, Axalta Chevrolet, 267, 6, , , , 4, 27, Running
23) 16, Erik Jones, 20, Irwin SPEEDBOR Toyota, 267, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 29, John Hunter Nemechek #, 38, Berry's Bullets Ford, 267, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 13, Kurt Busch, 1, Monster Energy Chevrolet, 266, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 10, Chase Elliott, 9, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 266, 1, 5, 70, 2, 1, 31, Running
27) 15, Ross Chastain(i), 6, Wyndham Rewards Ford, 265, 10, , , , , 0, Running
28) 37, JJ Yeley(i), 52,  Ford, 264, , , , , , 0, Running
29) 33, Brennan Poole #, 15, Goettl Chevrolet, 264, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 35, * Daniel Suarez, 96, Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, 263, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 31, Joey Gase(i), 53, Nevada Donor Network Ford, 258, , , , , , 0, Running
32) 32, Quin Houff #, 00, Victory Weekend Chevrolet, 258, , , , , , 5, Running
33) 22, Christopher Bell #, 95, Rheem/RTP Toyota, 257, , , , , , 4, Running
34) 36, Reed Sorenson, 77,  Chevrolet, 253, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 34, Garrett Smithley, 51,  Chevrolet, 252, , , , , , 2, Running
36) 28, Michael McDowell, 34, Love's Travel Stops Ford, 245, , , , , , 1, Running
37) 20, Ryan Preece, 37, Natural Light Seltzer Chevrolet, 222, , , , , , 1, Engine
38) 38, * Timmy Hill(i), 66,  Toyota, 175, , , , , , 0, Rear End
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Race Time: 2 Hrs, 58 Mins, 11 Secs.
Race Length: 267 Laps - 400.5 Miles
Average Speed: 134.861 MPH
Margin of Victory: Under Caution

Stage 1 Top 10: 9, 19, 4, 12, 22, 24, 42, 88, 48, 6

Stage 2 Top 10: 9, 12, 19, 24, 22, 4, 48, 42, 88, 18

Race Comments: Joey Logano won the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his 24th NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Prior to the start of the race the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 11, 18, 95 (inspection infractions), No. 51 (multiple inspection failures), No. 15 (engine change at Daytona - single engine rule).

Caution Flags: 9 for 37 laps;
Laps: 2-4 (No. 96 stalled frontstretch [None]);
27-30 (Competition caution [77]);
82-87 (Stage 1 conclusion [32]);
160-166 (Stage 2 conclusion [11]);
169-171 (No. 38 spin turn 2 [41]);
177-181 (No. 19 incident turn 4 [41]);
222-226 (No. 9 spin turn 1 [12]);
263-265 (No. 6 spin backstretch [6]);
267-267 (No. 24, 8, 18, 38 incident frontstretch [None]).

Lead Changes: 25 among 7 drivers;
K. Busch 0;
K. Harvick 1-4;
J. Logano 5-11;
K. Harvick 12-66;
C. Elliott 67-82;
M. Truex Jr. 83;
C. Elliott 84-87;
K. Harvick 88-102;
C. Elliott 103-122;
R. Stenhouse Jr. 123-126;
A. Dillon 127;
R. Stenhouse Jr. 128-145;
C. Elliott 146-162;
R. Blaney 163-166;
J. Logano 167-171;
K. Harvick 172;
J. Logano 173-181;
R. Blaney 182-183;
K. Harvick 184-200;
R. Blaney 201-204;
C. Elliott 205-217;
R. Blaney 218;
R. Stenhouse Jr. 219-226;
J. Logano 227-254;
R. Blaney 255-262;
J. Logano 263-267.

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2020, Issue 2, Posted 9:13 PM, 02.23.2020