Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski battled for the lead and eventual win in the closing laps of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Closing on Logano and runner-up Brad Keselowski with fewer than three laps left, Busch was held up by the lapped auto of Corey Lajoie, and his winning chances - however remote at that point - were gone. The arc of the Las Vegas event mirrored that of the Atlanta Cup race a week earlier, when Harvick won the second stage before fading to fourth.
His rival Kyle Busch was looking for the sweep after winning the Xfinity and Truck race earlier in the weekend.
Although 2019 has started off with two top-five finishes in three races, Busch understands there work still needs to be done.
"We qualified decent and had a good first half of the race two weeks in a row, but just got tighter as the race went on".
"I'm really happy with two top fives to start the year". As a result, the yellow flag waved only twice for scheduled cautions that divided the race distance into its three stages.
Kurt Busch led 23 laps on Sunday at his home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but it was the fashion in which he accomplished the fete that drew the most attention. After completing the pit cycle, Logano was shuffled back into the top position on lap 227. When we're in clean air, the vehicle is like this (pointing downward) and When we're in dirty air, the auto is like that (pointing upward).
By running an off-set strategy, Busch was able to make the most of an incident-free race, to climb from 28th on the grid to take fifth place. Things looked good for him as he was scored as the leader when he headed to the pits under green in Stage 2. He has won only one Cup race in Vegas, but he is among the favorites in NASCAR's third race of the new season. Logano and Harvick pitted on lap 218, followed by Kyle Busch - who assumed first - shortly after.
"I thought we were going to eat him up much quicker than we did", Logano said of Busch's decision to remain out front.
Kurt Busch made his green-flag stop late in the second stage, enabling to inherit the lead to restart the final stage up front after staying out. He then took the lead a few laps into the final stage and led 98 of 213 laps. Fords took five of the top seven spots.
"There's been plenty of times here when we've led a lot of laps here, but we've never won, and that's the most important stat to have", Logano said.