From repeated second place finisher back to victory lane, Joey Logano held off a challenge from Matt Kenneth to claim the win in Phoenix.
Joey Logano put on a dominant performance in the Axalta 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, leading 175 laps of the 200-lap event on his way to the win. It was the second-straight win for the No. 22 Team Penske Ford at PIR, with Brad Keselowski driving the car to victory lane last October.
"It was an amazing Discount Tire Ford," Logano said. "We had four-straight seconds coming into this race, so it was great to get a win."
Matt Kenseth finished second to Logano after running second to him for most of the race. Kevin Harvick was third, Austin Dillon fourth, and Erik Jones rounded out the top-five.
Logano started on the pole, with Harvick alongside in second. Kenseth moved up to the second spot for the first time when he got by Harvick to take the spot on lap 17.
Strategy comes into play
Logano led the first 50 laps when a four-tire pit strategy sent him back to fourth during a cuation. Kenseth got off pit road first and led 11 laps before Logano got back to the front, sending Kenseth back to second.
Logano was never passed for position on the race track, but he lost his lead on pit road a few additional times throughout the remainder of the race. He, again, took four tires during the next caution on lap 94 and restarted second to Austin Dillon, who took two. Logano retook the lead as soon as the race returned to green.
I just couldn't get there (to Logano).
Kenseth got back to the front on a restart following a caution with 78 laps to go. He restarted second to Brennan Poole, who stayed out for track position. Both Kenseth and Logano took two tires on their pit stops, but Kenseth was able to get out of the pits first. Regan Smith also got off pit road ahead of Logano by taking fuel only. Poole's strategy of staying out backfired when he ran out of fuel with 12 laps remaining.
When Kenseth took the lead on the restart, Logano followed him through for second. Then, Logano got back up front for good with 65 laps to go.
Working traffic to an advantage
"My car was a little better in traffic," Logano said of his ability to remain up front once he took the lead. "I was hoping for traffic."
Kenseth ran second the rest of the way, and Harvick worked his way up to third with just over 40 laps to go.
"For whatever reaeson, after that last pit stop, we weren't able to fire off on restarts," Kenseth said. "I just couldn't get there (to Logano)."
The yellow flag waved four times, with the final caution coming out with 62 laps to go when Chase Elliott spun as he and Ty Dillon raced for sixth position.
The highest-finishing Xfinity championship-eligible driver Ty Dillon in sixth. Elliott finished seventh, Brendan Gaughan was eighth, Smith ninth, and Brian Scott was 10th.