NASCAR Cup Series Race Recap - Las Vegas

October 17, 2022

Track:  Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race:   South Point 400
Date:   October 16, 2022

No. 2 Autotrader Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 2nd
Race Finish: 29th
Stage 1 Finish: 6th
Stage 2 Finish: 9th
Laps Led: 8
Point Standings: 12th

Race Rundown: Austin Cindric and the No. 2 team were relegated to a disappointing 29th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a right-rear tire issue caused the rookie driver to make contact with the wall. Cindric started on the outside of the front row and got to the lead on lap 34.  A longer pit stop midway through the first stage resulted in the youngster finishing sixth in Stage 1.  The Autotrader Ford Mustang was still strong throughout the second stage, with Cindric grabbing a ninth-place finish.  Unfortunately, during the final stage, Cindric experienced an issue on the track that forced the No. 2 Mustang into the wall.  An extended visit to pit road sent the Autotrader Ford multiple laps down. He would finish 29th. 

Cindric's Thoughts: "It was an unfortunate day for the Autotrader Ford Mustang team. We had a great car – a really good car.  We just got behind the eight ball a couple of times and had to fight back. But we were still able to put ourselves in a decent position.  Unfortunately, we got into the wall there and had to make repairs to the car, which put us laps down. Glad to see Joey win for Team Penske though – we will continue to go for wins and support our teammates moving forward."

No. 12 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Start: 4th
Race Finish: 28th
Stage 1 Finish: 5th
Stage 2 Finish: 1st
Laps Led: 39
Point Standings: 7th (-44)

Race Rundown: Ryan Blaney drove the No. 12 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang to a 28th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon to open up the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs.  Blaney had a great qualifying run to start the race from the fourth position, and raced into second before eventually falling to fifth at the end of Stage 1.  Fighting rear grip on the Menards Ford Mustang, interim crew chief Miles Stanley would make minor adjustments during the stage break, bringing Blaney's car to life.  The Menards/Knauf Ford would drive to the front of the field, taking the lead on lap 129 and holding the top spot until the end of the stage, earning his series-best eighth stage victory of the season.  As the final stage began, Blaney avoided trouble not once, but twice when nearly having contact with his competitors while running within the top-five.  Despite the close calls, the Menards Mustang continued to be a fixture up front while his competition experienced various issues.  Unfortunately, the problems would bite Blaney with less than 40 laps to go, as he would get loose going into turn one and slam into the outside wall.  The Menards team would make repairs, but lose multiple laps in the process  He would eventually finish 28th in the event.

Blaney's Thoughts: "Just got loose and got into the wall. Sucks to not take advantage of having such a fast car.  Our Menards Mustang was quick – just need to finish it off.  Good thing is, we had a great test at Homestead. Hopefully we can go there and pick up a win and join Joey in Phoenix."

No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Start: 5th
Race Finish: 1st
Stage 1 Finish: 2nd
Stage 2 Finish: 2nd
Laps Led: 32
Point Standings: 1st (+21)

Race Rundown: Joey Logano and the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang captured the victory on Sunday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, locking the former Cup Series Champion in the Championship 4 at Phoenix International Raceway.  Logano started fifth and quickly made his presence at the front of the field known, battling for the race lead near the end of Stage 1 despite dealing with a vibration late in the run.  A caution before the end of the first stage saw Logano finish the initial stage in the second position, picking up nine valuable stage points.  Logano would fight a loose condition throughout the second stage, but remain a fixture in the top-five, once again finishing second in the stage, collecting a total of 18 stage points during the afternoon.  As the final stage began, Logano found himself leading the race for the first time.  He would lead until a caution brought a round of pit stops.  Logano would continue to run up in the top-five until a caution following a crash by teammate Ryan Blaney brought the field to pit road with less than 40 laps to go.  The Pennzoil team experienced issues on the stop, dropping Logano back to 10th for the late-race restart.  A great call by crew chief Paul Wolfe would bring Logano to pit road for four fresh tires.  Logano would then drive through the field on multiple restarts to take the lead with just three laps to go enroute to taking the checkered flag, his 30th-career NASCAR Cup Series win.  The win locked Logano into the Championship 4 in three weeks at Phoenix. 

Logano's Thoughts: "We're racing for a championship! Let's go! Man, what a great car. Penske cars were all fast. All of them were really fast today. Oh, man, all you want to do is get to the Championship 4 when the season starts and race for a championship, and we've got the team to do it. I don't see why we can't win at this point. Things are looking really good for us, awesome Pennzoil Mustang, this bad boy, and man, just a lot of adversity fought through the last 50 laps or so. I thought we were going to win and then we kind of fell out and then had the tires, and racing Ross was fun. He was doing a good job air-blocking me, and just trying to be patient, and eventually, I was like, I've got to go here. Just great to win out here in Vegas again, and it means so much getting to the championship."