sunny.png
Tuesday May 21st, 2019 11:12AM

Joey Logano holds off Brad Keselowski for Vegas NASCAR win

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski were side by side off the fourth turn, two teammates fighting for the last burst of speed on the final lap at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Logano barely managed to block Keselowski's move, and the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion hung on for his first win in his title defense season.

"That was more intense than I wanted it to be," Logano said.

Logano held off Keselowski on Sunday for his first Cup victory in Vegas, driving his Team Penske Ford to his 22nd career win.

"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 said. "Something happens at the end, and Brad becomes the fastest car and he wins. I looked in the mirror, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is happening again.'"

But after narrowly answering Keselowski's last-lap passing attempt, Logano celebrated his victory in NASCAR's first race under its full new rules package designed to foster tight racing and excitement.

"What a great race," Logano said. "Brad and I were so evenly matched, and you just can't pull away (under the new rules). My heart is still running."

Excitement is exactly what NASCAR got on the final lap, although the quality of the 266 laps before that sharply divided drivers and observers — no surprise in a sport that rarely agrees on much of anything.

The Vegas race featured no cautions, which meant the thrilling restarts expected under the new rules were limited to a couple of wild laps after the two segment breaks.

"There towards the end, the way this drafting package, these rules work, it was intense," Logano said. "You can't get away. You're constantly looking around. Mentally, I'm exhausted right now. ... It proves you don't need crashes to have an exciting race. There's so much strategy that goes into driving these race cars now. I thought it was as entertaining as can be. I don't really know what to say if you don't like that."

Keselowski drove up from 19th to take the lead with 27 laps left, but his hopes for back-to-back victories were dashed when Logano passed him while getting held up by lapped traffic.

"I'd like to have one more lap," said Keselowski, who won the playoff race in Vegas last September. "It was a good battle, and we were both fighting really hard at the top. It seemed like it came down to what the lapped cars were going to do."

Kyle Busch finished third, unable to recover from a mid-race speeding penalty in the hometown driver's quest for the third three-race weekend sweep in NASCAR history. As you might expect, Busch wasn't a fan of the new rules' effects on his racing.

"The cars don't have any speed," Busch said. "You're wide open just trying to catch a draft. You couldn't maneuver. You're always trying to figure out which way to go."

Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was fourth, and Kurt Busch finished fifth for the Las Vegas native's first top-five finish at his home track since 2005. Fords took five of the top seven spots.

Here are more things to know from the race in Sin City:

BUSCH BLAME

Kyle Busch won the Trucks race Friday and the Xfinity event Saturday, giving him 197 victories in all three series. But he has won only one Cup race in Vegas, and he owned his mistake when he failed to complete the triple.

"If we didn't have the speeding penalty on pit road, we would have won this race," Busch said. "The driver threw it away."

PENSKE SURGING

Roger Penske's team has won two of the first three races, and the 82-year-old owner is encouraged by the early results from the new package, and not just because Logano won.

"To me it shows that you can be the leader, but also you can be behind and catch up," Penske said. "I'm maybe biased, but so far, so good."

Penske also wasn't worried when his two drivers were inches apart on that final lap: "We've really told them to take care of each other, and the last 10 laps, the best man wins. I've seen it all over the years with teammates racing each other. On the one side, you worry a little bit, but on the other side, boy, isn't that great?"

WHO'S HOT

Logano moved into the overall series points lead, jumping two points ahead of Kevin Harvick. Logano, who finished fourth at Daytona, had never won a Cup race at Vegas in 11 tries during his first 10 full-time seasons, although he won an Xfinity Series race at the track in 2017.

WHO'S NOT

Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson finished 19th, and he sits 18th in the overall points. That's last among the four drivers from Hendrick Motorsports, which isn't off to a dynamite start to the season.

UP NEXT

At ISM Raceway in Phoenix on March 10 as NASCAR's West Coast Swing continues.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, NASCAR, NASCAR Xfinity Series
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Brazdeikis carries No. 9 Michigan past No. 17 Maryland 69-62
Ignas Brazdeikis scores 21 points as No. 9 Michigan tops No. 17 Maryland 69-62
7:24PM ( 14 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Man arrested in California blast that killed ex
The FBI says a California man was arrested Sunday in connection with an explosion that killed his ex-girlfriend at her day spa last year
7:09PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Harden scores 42 points, Rockets hold off Celtics 115-104
James Harden had 42 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter and the Houston Rockets held on the beat the Boston Celtics 115-104 for their fifth straight victory
7:07PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Montez Sweat set big-man record for 40-yard dash
Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat stood out among the deep defensive line class at the NFL scouting combine
6:46PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Joey Logano holds off Brad Keselowski for Vegas NASCAR win
Joey Logano has held off teammate Brad Keselowski to win a clean, exciting NASCAR Cup Series race in Las Vegas
6:40PM ( 57 minutes ago )
The Latest: Logano holds off Keselowski for Vegas NASCAR win
The Latest: Logano holds off teammate Keselowski to win NASCAR race in Vegas
6:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Harvick keeps lead after 1st stage in Vegas
The Latest: Kevin Harvick leading from the pole after 1st stage of NASCAR Cup Series race in Las Vegas
4:38PM ( 3 hours ago )
NASCAR debuts new rules package, expects exciting Vegas race
The racing world gets its first look at the NASCAR Cup Series' new rules package at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
5:34PM ( 1 day ago )
Kyle Larson says he'll watch his words after Hendrick gaffe
Kyle Larson says he personally apologized to team owner Rick Hendrick this week after jokingly saying during an interview that Hendrick Motorsports cheats
8:18PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
McDowell defends Daytona 500 decision not to push Logano
McDowell defends Daytona 500 decision not to push Logano
5:23PM ( 1 week ago )
Joe Gibbs dedicates Daytona 500 victory to late son
Denny Hamlin did it again at Daytona and won NASCAR's biggest race of the year for the second time
2:16AM ( 1 week ago )
Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years
Denny Hamlin did it again at Daytona and won NASCAR's biggest race of the year for the second time
9:22PM ( 1 week ago )
NASCAR
Michael Annett wins Xfinity Series opener at Daytona
JR Motorsports goes to victory lane at Daytona with a win by Michael Annett in the Xfinity Series season opening race at Daytona International Speedway
6:56PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Perfect Storm: The 500 and fight that changed NASCAR forever
1979 Daytona 500 changed NASCAR forever, with assist from huge snowstorm and spectacular finish
11:28AM ( 2 weeks ago )
The Latest: Johnson hopes to run Boston Marathon in 3 hours
Jimmie Johnson has a lofty goal for the Boston Marathon: completing the grueling, 26.2-mile course in less than three hours
3:25PM ( 2 weeks ago )
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Brazdeikis carries No. 9 Michigan past No. 17 Maryland 69-62
Ignas Brazdeikis scores 21 points as No. 9 Michigan tops No. 17 Maryland 69-62
7:24PM ( 14 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Man arrested in California blast that killed ex
The FBI says a California man was arrested Sunday in connection with an explosion that killed his ex-girlfriend at her day spa last year
7:09PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Harden scores 42 points, Rockets hold off Celtics 115-104
James Harden had 42 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter and the Houston Rockets held on the beat the Boston Celtics 115-104 for their fifth straight victory
7:07PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Defending Iditarod champ remains self-proclaimed 'goofball'
Defending Iditarod champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom says success hasn't changed him
6:58PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Hungary's leader calls EU parliament critics 'useful idiots'
Hungary's populist prime minister says members of a European Parliament group calling for his party's expulsion are playing into the hands of left-wing opponents
6:55PM ( 42 minutes ago )