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Joey Logano wins in Las Vegas, clinches spot in Championship 4

The triumph, Logano's third in 2022 and third at Las Vegas, slotted him in as the first driver eligible to compete for the Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6.

NASCAR: South Point 400
NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) drives for position against driver Ross Chastain on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports
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Joey Logano became the first driver to advance to NASCAR's championship race by passing Ross Chastain with three laps to go at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and winning the South Point 400 Sunday in Las Vegas.

With 22 circuits left and gridding 13th on the final restart, Logano sliced through the field and caught Chastain's No. 1 Chevrolet -- using tires that were 13 laps fresher than Chastain's. Logano swooped his No. 22 Ford past Chastain off Turn 2 and drove away to his 30th career victory by 0.817 seconds.

The triumph, Logano's third in 2022 and third at Las Vegas, slotted him in as the first driver eligible to compete for the Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6.

Taking new tires -- a call by Logano's crew chief Paul Wolfe -- turned out to be the winning strategy.

"All you want to do is get in the Championship 4 when the season starts and race for a championship," Logano said. "We've got the team to do it. I don't see why we can't win it at this point."

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After Chastain, Kyle Busch, Chase Briscoe and Denny Hamlin completed the top-five finishers.

As the 80-lap Stage 1 neared its end with Bubba Wallace's No. 45 Toyota out front, the race's first caution occurred when Busch lost control of his No. 18 Toyota in Turn 4 in a single-car spin. Wallace, who led 24 laps, claimed the stage win with Logano, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney and William Byron earning stage points.

Later, as Wallace and Kyle Larson wrecked off Turn 4 on Lap 95, Larson's No. 5 slid up the frontstretch and clipped the left rear of Bell's No. 20 Toyota. Bell's Camry, which won last weekend at the Charlotte Roval in a win-or-go-home scenario to advance to the Round of 8, suffered considerable damage and retired his car in 34th.

After the incident, Wallace climbed from his Camry and walked down to Larson's car on the frontstretch infield grass. Wallace confronted the 2021 champion and shoved him a few times before angrily walking to pit road.

"When you get shoved in the fence, deliberately like (Larson) did, trying to force me to lift -- the steering was gone, and he just so happened to be there," Wallace said. "We had a super-fast car -- not on short run speed, we were kind of falling back there and (Larson) wanted to make it a three-wide dive bomb."

Wallace was not called to the NASCAR hauler to discuss the incident.

"I obviously made an aggressive move in (Turn) 3," Larson said. "He had a reason to be mad, but his race wasn't over until he retaliated."

Bell, meanwhile, grids in eighth among playoff contenders (-23 points) and is likely facing another situation in which he has to win at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend or at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway short track in two weeks to race for a championship at Phoenix.

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"The good thing is, I feel better about winning one of those two races than the Roval," said Bell, a two-time winner in 2022. "We've had really strong Camrys all year, so we'll see if we can pull another rabbit out of our hat."

Blaney's No. 12 Ford won Stage 2, but his Mustang, which led 39 laps, got loose in Turn 2 with 40 laps remaining, struck the outside wall and wrecked against the inside retaining wall. He finished 28th and is seventh among title contenders (-11).

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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