LAS VEGAS – Joey Logano made the most of NASCAR’s first stop on its western swing Saturday afternoon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Logano raced to victory at the 21st annual Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race, beating Kyle Larson to the finish line after a re-start with five laps to go made it a very short run to the checkered flag.
It was Logano’s 28th Xfinity win but only his first in Las Vegas.
“It was a fun race, for sure,” said Logano. “It’s our second Xfinity win in a row after our fall win in Charlotte and it’s the third Xfinity win in a row for this car. It was a fast car out there today.”
Cup racers – those drivers who run in the Monster Energy Cup series – took the top three spots, with Cup rookie Daniel Suarez finishing third.
Justin Allgaier, who finished fourth, was the top full time Xfinity finisher.
“Being able to run up front in the top five all afternoon was huge,” said Allgaier. “I felt like we should probably have finished third today but it was still a good finish.”
The race had nine cautions – five in the final stage with four of those coming in the final 38 laps and the final one coming with seven laps remaining that, after everything was cleared, led to the final five-lap sprint to the finish.
“I thought Kyle (Larson) and I were pretty equal,” said Larson. “I think getting clean air on the re-starts was critical. All-in-all, it was a very good day. I’m happy about that.”
“He was definitely changing his lanes on the re-starts based on who was behind him,” said Larson. “Joey did a good job of choosing lanes.”
As with the Cup Series, Xfinity races are now run in three stages.
Kyle Busch led after the first 45-lap stage, beating Kyle Larson by a nose with Logano just a car length behind.
Brad Keselowski came on strong to grab the second 45-lap stage ahead of Busch, Allgaier and Larson.
That set the field for the final 110 laps on the 1.5-mile asphalt oval.
Logano was sitting sixth on the re-start and quickly moved to the head of the field, grabbing the lead with 106 laps to go and holding onto it the rest of the way.
But that didn’t mean the rest of the race lacked drama.
Drivers raced under the green flag for the longest stretch of the day until debris on the track slowed everyone down with 38 laps left.
Logano held off Kyle Busch, Daniel Wallace Jr. and Suarez on the re-start.
Then with 29 laps left, Allgier spun out coming out of turn three.
Trying to avoid a collision, Dakoda Armstrong also went into a spin.
The caution lights were on for the next five laps.
This time, Logano kept Larson, Busch, Austin Dillon and Suarez at bay to hold the lead.
When J.J. Yeley spun out coming out of turn four with 17 laps remaining, the yellow lights came back on.
Shortly after the final re-start, Matt Tifft slid up toward the wall coming out of turn two, sideswiping Yeley. Yeley was able to keep control driving right along the wall but Tifft started a spin that took him all the way back down the track.
That set up the final five lap showdown.
“All those yellows in the final 38 laps – all those cautions gave me plenty of opportunity for me to screw it up with all those re-starts,” said Logano. “It was just a challenging day from a re-start standpoint. I really thought today’s race played out like a Cup race so there’s a lot I can take away from that for tomorrow. I think it might give me a small advantage – a least for the first few laps”
“The crowd today was amazing,” said Allgaier. “Tomorrow it’s going to be spectacular.”
Sunday, the Monster Energy racers take over the Speedway for the Kobalt 400.