We were about to start the race recap but Daniel Suarez’s #96 crept to a halt.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s recap how Joey Logano won and the fastest car didn’t on Sunday in Las Vegas
Stage 1 was rather uneventful outside of the Suarez caution on lap 1 and the competition caution at lap 25. The high downforce, 550 HP package that NASCAR is experimenting with again this season definitely gave the booth something to talk about on restarts with 3-wide racing.
The Penske trio spent multiple laps in Stage 1 running with each other, swapping positions, and doing a great job of not going all Ferrari at Brazil circa 2019. Keselowski looked competitive early but faded massively finishing an abysmal 15th while his teammates collected stage points.
Chase Elliott cruised to the Stage 1 victory after passing Kevin Harvick for the lead with 15 to go in the stage. It’s the first race for the new Camaro nose and it appeared to work well as Chevy occupied 5 of the Top-10 spots at the stage break.
A bat shit crazy restart that looked like something more fit for your local interstate after you clear an accident slow spot saw Kevin Harvick dart out to the lead again. That last for about 23 laps until Chase Elliott reclaimed the lead again. ON TRACK GREEN FLAG PASSES.
Christopher Bell had one of the best saves you’ll see all season in Stage 2. The dirt-tracker from Oklahoma smoked the tires all the way through turn 4 showcasing his car control that would make DK blush. If you don’t get that reference you’ve never seen a Dodge Viper race through a new development and the winner gets sent to Japan.
Ricky Stenhouse led 30 laps in the second stage meaning he’s lead multiple laps in the first two races just like everyone predicted he would.
Chase Elliott went back to back with Stage wins wrapping up the second stage as Christopher Bell looped it off turn 2 on the backstretch.
Joey Logano started off Stage 3 how he had been racing down in Daytona, aggressively. The 2019 champ has been driving aggressively stupid this year and it almost caused him to dump his teammate Sunday.
After some loose lugs on Martin Truex Jr.’s #19 car was mired back in the pack. Being stuck in the pack in loads of dirty air caused the #1 and the #19 to make contact. That minor contact would cut down the right side tire on Truex’s car following the next restart flattening the right side of his car.
The dominant car of the day Chase Elliott ran into trouble when the rear tire on his #9 Camaro went down sending him for a slide and some contact with the wall in turn 1 with 41 laps to go.
That Chase Elliott caution struck gold for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and crew chief Brian Pattie who were running long in hopes of a caution coming out. When that caution came out it left three cars on the lead lap. Meaning Stenhouse could pit and come back out in the lead while everyone else had to stay out and take the wave around. It was a gamble by Pattie but when the caution came out that gamble hit and put Stenhouse in position for his 3rd place finish at the end of the race.
As the laps counted down Ryan Blaney caught leader Joey Logano and passed him much to the delight of the internet. As Blaney took the lead Alex Bowman flew past Kevin Harvick for third, he then caught Logano for second and was closing in on Blaney.
Keyword there “was” because as the #88 was closing the #6 of Ross Chastain who is filling in for Ryan Newman slid off turn two bringing out the caution. That caution set up a Green-White-Checkered finish.
Under that caution, a number of leaders pitted including Blaney and Bowman who restarted too far back to be in contention. Logano and William Byron stayed out. On the restart, Logano got a great jump while Byron go swallowed up and relegated to 22nd after a flat tire ruined his day. Logano would roll to victory while everyone else ping-ponged behind him.
The fastest car didn’t win the race on Sunday but this is what NASCAR wants.