It wasn’t easy for Joey Logano (22) and Team Penske Ford who won their second race of this short season in a dramatic overtime finish at the FanShield 500 in Avondale, Arizona. This one mile, tri-oval track located about 20 miles west of Phoenix with its unusual uppercase “D” design has four turns, each with a unique radius and banking. As the traditional saying goes, “bad things come in threes,” in Ryan Blaney’s (12) case, let’s hope bad things stop at four as the point leader was ousted only 64 laps in. Driver No. 12 and Danny Hamlin (11) hit the wall along with Brad Keslowski (2) getting caught up in the mess but only unlucky Blaney (12) would not return to the race. In the past three races, Blaney (12) has been a dominant lap leader but not this time around as he struck 0 for 64. This race marks Logano’s 25th career win and just the fourth driver to accomplish this before the age of 30.
Stage 1 (75 laps) began with poll winner, Chase Elliott (9) leading the first 58 laps until Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47) hit the wall, the nine time FanShield 500 winner, Kevin Harvick (4) took the lead off of pit road and wouldn’t look back as he won Stage 1 even with the mentioned, Blaney (12), Hamlin (11) and Keslowski (2) crash on lap 64. Most of Stage 1 was neck and neck between the No. 4 and the No. 9 car, overall a strong performance by Elliott (9) and Logano (22) who rounded out the top three. Stage 2 (115 laps) Hamlin (11) would be put a lap down and Blaney (12) would be out for the rest of the race but that didn’t stop Keslowski (2) who put on the afterburners and won convincingly despite two minor cautions, Harvick (4) and Martin Truex Jr. (19) came in second and third. An incredible run for Truex Jr. (19) who was sent to the back of the line in the start of the race due to an engine change during qualifying but rebounded nicey finishing 3rd in Stage 2. Stage 3 (122 laps) looked like it would be another dominant performance by Keselowski (2) despite not appreciating his teammate, Logano’s (22) love taps to his bumper before the restarts. With 20 laps to go, Logano in his aggressive ways went to the inside and passed Keselowski (2) for the lead. Let the chaos begin! With 8 laps to go, Ross Chastain (6) was spun out by William Byron (24) but still plenty of laps to avoid this race from going into overtime. Here we go again, on the restart, rookie, John Hunter Nemechek (38) and Stenhouse Jr. (47) both spun out, no escaping the inevitable, OVERTIME! Logano (22) led the two laps of overtime leaving Harvick (4) and Kyle Bush (18) in the dust to earn his second win of the season.
Logano has won two races early on as he only won Las Vegas and Michigan in 2019. Let’s take a look at other drivers who had a solid race, how about Kyle Larson (42) and Clint Bowyer (14) with their strong fourth and fifth place finish and rookies raced a hard fought battle with Cole Custer (41) notching a career high 9th place and Tyler Reddick (8) cruising in the top ten for the majority of the race until a punctured tire landed him on the wall ending his run on lap 264. Great news to see Ryan Newman just three weeks after the terrifying crash at the Daytona 500, out supporting his teammate, Chastain, driving the No. 6 car until his return. Newman states to the media, “It’s great to be alive.”