NASCAR playoffs: Joey Logano wins South Point 400 in Las Vegas
It was the seventh race of a 10-week stretch of competition that ends in Arizona in November, when just four drivers will compete in the highly anticipated NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.
The eight drivers who were part of the playoff field in Sunday's race included Logano, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Chase Briscoe. Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez, Austin Cindric and Alex Bowman were recently eliminated after the Round of 12 competition.
Here are the top moments from Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Setting the stage
NASCAR legend Mark Martin drove the pace car — the car that won the inaugural race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — ahead of Sunday's action.
The green flag dropped and Richard Childress Racing's Tyler Reddick surged out to an early lead.
Briscoe battled car troubles and slipped back 12 spots in the first stage.
Bubba Wallace wasn't in the playoff chase, but he was still racing hard, taking the lead from Suárez. He built his lead to over half a second in the first stage, while Logano and Suárez battled side-by-side for second.
Kyle Busch was running sixth before spinning out off Turn 4, bringing out the first caution of the day.
This allowed Wallace to take the Stage 1 win and keep playoff contenders from scoring a playoff point.
There was a huge wreck on the front stretch involving Wallace, who got run into the wall and spun out into traffic by Larson. Tensions were clearly running high …
… as a pushing-and-shoving match broke out between Wallace and Larson near the scene.
Playoff driver Bell got caught up in the crash, ending his race early with heavy damage to his right side.
Blaney, Chastain and Logano were battling for the top spot after all the commotion. With under 20 laps to go in Stage 2, Blaney held a 1.6-second lead over Logano, while Chastain fell 4.4 seconds back.
Blaney went on to secure the Stage 2 win, which was very important with a championship spot on the line.
Staying the course
There was a near collision on pit road between Logano and Chastain, but both drivers came out unscathed. The green flag was back out with 96 laps to go, but it didn't last long. The caution came out when JJ Yeley went for a spin around Turn 4 and came to a stop in the infield grass with an apparent left rear tire down.
Elsewhere, Chastain took the lead while Blaney and Byron battled side-by-side with him for second. Byron almost lost control on the track when it appeared as if his car bottomed out over the bumps in Turns 1 and 2, but he was able to regain control and keep racing.
After narrowly escaping contact from Busch earlier in the third stage, Blaney wasn't so lucky the next time around. He lost it in Turn 2 and spun into the inside wall.
Blaney, who was running second at the time, drew a caution after the impact.
The caution was back with 27 laps left when Reddick got into Suárez and sent him sliding through the infield.
The restart came with 22 laps to go and the top 12 cars stayed out. There was another quick caution when Landon Cassill spun in Turn 4, which allowed Briscoe to take the lead — but he didn't hold onto it for long.
Chastain surged up the tract to take the top spot and built his lead out to one second with 10 laps remaining.
Logano was challenging Chastain off Turn 4 and was able to clear him for the lead with just two laps to go.
Logano, who held a half-second lead on the final laps, was able to cruise to victory after a wild day of racing.