By Nicholas Sterling
Joey Logano captured his second career win at Phoenix Raceway after holding off Kevin Harvick in overtime Sunday. Logano seized control of the race after passing teammate Brad Keselowski with just over 20 laps to go.
During stage 2 of Sunday’s race in Phoenix, Logano’s team was penalized for having an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop. He had to go to the tail end of the field. After working his way back up to the front, his pit crew had a slow stop due to a broken jack. Neither of these could stop Logano.
The race was dominated by four drivers: Logano, Harvick, Keselowski, and NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott. The four combined to lead 302 of the 316 laps in the race. Elliott led a race-high 93 laps.
Harvick won stage 1 after passing Elliott late. Elliott recaptured the lead in stage 2 but had to pit from the lead for a loose wheel. He made a frantic charge to get back on the lead lap but came up just short. He was in position to get the lucky-dog at the end of stage two so he was able to get back on the lead lap.
Varying strategy in the final stage got Keselowski to the lead with just over 40 laps to go but he was on worn tires compared to his competitors. After Ross Chastain spun out with nine laps to go, Keselowski gave up third position to pit for fresh tires. He finished a disappointing 11th.
Stage 1 saw a crash take out two of the race favorites. Denny Hamlin got loose in turn three and clipped Keselowski’s car and forced Ryan Blaney into the wall. Hamlin was able to continue but his car was too damaged to compete. Blaney was knocked out of the race in what was another disappointing finish for the Penske driver.
Rookie Tyler Reddick ran in the top 10 all day before cutting a tire and wrecking out in stage 3. Fellow rookie Cole Custer claimed his first top ten finish of his career with a nine-place run.
The west-coast swing is over as drivers head back east to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race is set for March 15 at 2 p.m. on FOX.