LAS VEGAS — With a slew of mechanical problems, fights, and untimely spins affecting multiple competitors on Sunday, many NASCAR drivers are hoping what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Joey Logano is not one of those drivers, though. Logano took the win at the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after grabbing the lead from Ross Chastain with just three laps to go. A bold move from Logano's team to take four tires during a late pit stop gave him the edge he needed to grab the win.
The victory punches Logano's ticket into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix in a few weeks.
"All you want to do is get to the Championship 4 when the season starts. I don't see why we can't win," said Logano to the NBC Sports crew. "Racing Ross was fun."
Logano and Chastain were the dominant cars of the day in a race that was filled with incidents for multiple racers.
Tyler Reddick started on the pole and was quickly under pressure from Austin Cindric for the lead. The two traded the front spot in the early goings before Daniel Suárez and Bubba Wallace emerged as the front runners after the race's first pit stop.
Kyle Busch spun coming out of turn 4 on lap 77 to bring out the race's first caution, which also ended the stage, giving Wallace his second stage win of the season.
Shortly after the stage break came possibly the race's most eventful moment. Kyle Larson made a move that forced Wallace to brush the wall coming out of turn 4. In retaliation, Wallace sideswiped Larson and wrecked out both cars, taking out Christopher Bell in the process.
After exiting his car, Wallace headed toward Larson and began shoving him. Larson did not return any physical altercation and the two went their separate ways.
"Larson wanted to make a three-wide dive bomb and never cleared me. I dont' lift," said Wallace to the NBC Sports crew. "[Larson] knows what he did was wrong."
"It didn't surprise me. I made an aggressive move," said Larson. "He had a reason to be mad but his race wasn't over until he retaliated. With everything that's going on with head injuries, it's probably not the right thing to do, but we've all done it."
Suárez, Chastain, Logano, Ryan Blaney, and Denny Hamlin traded the top spot in Stage 2. Blaney won the stage and seemed like he would challenge for his first win of the year.
That was until lap 228 when Blaney suffered a tire issue and wrecked just before teams were getting ready for pit stops. Blaney finished 28th.
Before Blaney's issue, Kevin Harvick, Reddick, and Suárez all suffered issues on pit road that quashed their good finishes. Suárez added to his frustration when he spun with just under 30 laps to go after getting loose behind Reddick. Suárez finished 16th, Reddick finished 6th.
After Suárez's spin, the field was split between drivers staying out for track position and those looking to gain an advantage with fresh tires. Logano was one of these drivers.
Chastain took the lead from some of those that stayed out and looked to hold on for the win but Logano's strategy slowly but surely began to pay off.
With about five laps to go, Logano was at Chatain's bumper and shortly after made the pass for the win without much challenge.
Chastain followed behind in 2nd, Kyle Busch rebounded for 3rd, Chase Briscoe finished 4th, and Hamlin finished 5th.
With just two races left before the championship race at Phoenix, Logano, Chastain, Chase Elliott, and Hamlin are in position to compete for the title. William Byron is the first driver on the outside-looking-in as he is six points behind Hamlin.
Next week, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.