Joey Logano battled his way back to the front of the field in the final laps, then capitalized on his fresher tires and passed Ross Chastain in the closing laps to win Sunday’s Round of 8 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The win cements Logano into his fifth Championship 4 appearance.
A late-race, four-tire stop from the No. 22 team put Logano on a tire advantage in front of a majority of the leaders. As the laps ticked, Logano continuously moved closer to the lead and found the move off Turn 4 with four laps to go to get around fellow playoff driver Chastain.
Chastain’s runner-up finish puts him 18 points above the elimination cutline.
Kyle Busch, Chase Briscoe and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Briscoe recovered after a difficult start to the race that nearly saw him go one lap down and now sits just nine points behind Hamlin in the battle for the final Championship 4 spot.
Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, AJ Allmendinger and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 10.
Major playoff implications and boiling tempers highlighted Stage 2 as on Lap 94, 2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace wrecked off Turn 4 after the No. 45 Toyota slammed the wall and came back down the track, turning the No. 5 Chevrolet. When Larson’s car came up the track, Christopher Bell got caught in the incident as the No. 5 clipped the left rear of Bell’s No. 20 Toyota.
The damage Bell’s car sustained in the incident ended his day, forcing the No. 20 to finish 34th.
After the wreck, Wallace exited his car and confronted Larson on the track. Wallace shoved Larson a few times before the pair were separated and taken to the infield care center.
With 40 laps to go, a second playoff driver suffered a setback as Ryan Blaney spun off Turn 2 and hit the inside wall coming down the backstretch. The No. 12 Team Penske Ford resumed on track but finished seven laps down in 28th.
Chase Elliott entered the Round of 8 as the points leader but couldn’t find the speed to crack the top 10 throughout the 267-lap event and brought home the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in 21st. Elliott’s teammate William Byron finished 13th.
The Round of 8 resumes next Sunday as the Cup Series heads to the southeast coast to take on Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NOTE: Inspection is complete in the Cup Series garage with no issues, confirming Logano as the race winner. The Nos. 23 and 99 will be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further inspection.
no issues. 23 and 99 back to r&d for teardown