PHOENIX—Joey Logano held off Kevin Harvick in overtime to win the Fanshield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.
As Harvick challenged Logano in the closing laps, crew chief Paul Wolfe directed his driver to stay the course through Turns 1 and 2—where the No. 22 Team Penske Ford was faster.
Despite three additional cautions—including a green-white-checker finish—Logano extended his lead to .707-seconds at the finish to win his second race of the 2020 season and his second on the one-mile track.
“I knew racing Kevin was going to be hard,” Logano said. “I was figuring I was going to get hit, so I throttled up in the corner so much, I thought he was going to give me the bump-n-run, which I expected, wouldn’t blame him for.
“That was a pretty intense last 30 minutes or hour of the race. A lot going on. Couldn’t be more proud of this team. Two wins already in the books. We’ve got to keep this thing rocking.”
Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Cole Custer and William Byron rounded out the top 10.
Ryan Blaney, who entered the race as the Cup points leader, was collected in an accident triggered by Denny Hamlin clipping Brad Keselowski. The No. 12 Ford completed 65 laps and finished 37th.
“A couple of us were three-wide,” said Blaney, who started fifth. “I was happy to be on the top. I thought we were going to roll the top pretty good through three and four there. It looks like the 11 (Hamlin) tried to send it in there below the 2 and got loose and hit him and then overcorrected and got us. We got up in the dirt and we just ran right into the fence.
“Just an innocent bystander there. It sucks to have it end so early like that and have that happen so early in the race. We didn’t even have a chance to work on our car. We weren’t great the first run but we made a big swing at it and we don't know how that change was. It stinks when you are taken out like that. We will just go on to Atlanta and see what we can do.”
Elliott started from the pole and led the first 60 laps but lost the point in the pits to Harvick, who held on for the Stage 1 win. Elliott finished second followed by Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Almirola, Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones.
Austin Dillon’s day went from bad to worse as he tagged the wall twice before triggering the third caution and retiring after 129 laps. He finished 36th. Harvick entered the pits with the lead followed by Brad Keselowski and Logano. Following a faux pas by the No. 22 Team Penske pit crew, Logano was penalized for an uncontrolled tire and dropped to 28th for the Lap 138 restart.
Garrett Smithley ignited Caution 4 after spilling fluid on the track and prematurely ending the stage on Lap 189. Keselowski his first stage win on Lap 190. Harvick, Truex, Reddick, Kyle Busch, Almirola, Logano, Bowyer, Larson and Custer completed the top 10 in Stage 2.
Keselowski remained on the track for the restart of the final stage on Lap 198. Six laps into the green-flag run, Reddick tagged the wall in Turn 4 and dropped to 10th. He regained his composure and raced back to eighth. Keselowski held a marginal lead over Harvick when Quin Houff spun in Turn 2 for Caution 6 on Lap 215.
Truex took the lead with a two-tire stop followed by Reddick and Erik Jones. Logano, the first driver with four tires, lined up fourth for the Lap 222 restart and grabbed the lead three laps later.
The race was slowed by Jones hitting the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 252. Reddick facing the same fate seven laps later. Logano experienced the crew’s second mistake when the jack malfunctioned on the stop. He lined up 18th.
Truex restarted 12th on the Lap 283 restart and was taken out of contention for the third week in a row.
“I just got ran over,” said Truex, who finished 32nd. “He (Almirola) ran into the back of me earlier getting into (turn) one. I hung on to it. These restarts are crazy, it’s fanned out. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was in front of me. I wasn’t sure if he was going to come up in front of me on the short shoot or not. Then the 10 (Almirola) ran into us. Can’t finish a race, it sucks.”
Ross Chastain was collected in a race with Byron and Custer in what the rookie described as a “racing deal” on Lap 304. The race returned to green for just two laps when the 12th and final caution occurred between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and John Hunter Nemechek to send the race into overtime.
Logano lined up for the final restart with Harvick to the right of him and Kyle Busch behind. Logano admitted that having the Closer in his rearview mirror was disconcerting.
“I saw him. I saw him. I felt him,” Logano said of Harvick’s presence. “I mean, I felt like he was close enough he could have done something, especially we came off on the restart off of turn two down the back straightaway and he was lined up right to me. I was like, This is not a good place to be.
“I drove it off in the corner pretty hard, which was his strength. I tried to drive my car like he drove his car. That's where his strengths were, is kind of rolling to the center, figuring everything out after that. Different style than what's natural to me. I had to adjust to stay ahead of him the last lap.”
Wolfe reminded Logano that Harvick was better in Turns 3 and 4, so Logano did his best to take his line.
“If I backed up to where I normally was lifting, he was able to roll to my back bumper, was obviously going to make contact,” Logano said. “Like I said, I can't get mad at him if he did. I can't blame him. I'd do the same thing. I was able to stay enough ahead and gas up at the right time to build some gap before the bumper came there.
“Really cool to be able to race clean and hard. It's a lot of fun. Kevin is one of the best racers that's ever strapped into a racecar, in a stockcar in particular. He's a Hall of Famer to say the least. When you line up at the end of a race against him, you know it's going to be a heck of a battle, but it's a lot of fun.”
Logano was also thrilled with how the new short-track package performed at Phoenix—particularly since the track will host the season finale in November.
“It's cool to see that we're able to make changes and make a difference and really put on what I thought was obviously a great race,” Logano said. “We won. Even if we didn't win, I would have said that was a pretty cool race.
“When you got out front, didn't mean you checked out. Some did. That's always going to happen. The fastest cars always end up in the front, always hard to pass that car. I thought there was just a lot of good racing. Restarts were still crazy as usual here. But I thought the awesome sauce (PJ1) was awesome.”
Harvick holds a one-point lead over Logano in the standings.