The NASCAR Camping World 500 at Phoenix as it happened

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 19: Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Grainger Chevrolet, takes the lead on a restart during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 19, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Those who led more than 10 laps, and those who looked like the class of the field Sunday at Phoenix weren’t the winners. Instead it was Ryan Newman celebrating his 18th career victory winning the NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Here’s how it all went down Sunday.

Joey Logano led the field to the green on the outside from his first career Phoenix pole.  Ryan Blaney, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.

Logano has the lead by turn 1, Blaney and Earnhardt were side by side with Earnhardt grabbing second; it was three wide for second by turn 4 with Blaney on the outside, and Brad Keselowski on the inside of Earnhardt.  Blaney had third by lap 2; Larson second.  Earnhardt and Keselowski were fighting for fourth; Keselowski had the spot by lap 6.

Keselowski took third on lap 11.

By lap 16, Logano had a lead of 1.6 seconds.  Blaney had dropped to fifth.

McMurray took fifth from Blaney on lap 25, Keselowski moved to second.

Corey LaJoie got loose in the dogleg after contact and got into the wall on lap 27; the first caution flew. The leaders all pitted.  Logano got out first, followed by Larson, Earnhardt, McMurray and Blaney. Keselowski’s crew had an issue with the left rear, lost time and came out sixth.

Green came back out on lap 31, Logano took the lead, Larson fell into second; Keselowski shot forward and was third by the end of the lap putting McMurray to fourth.  Kyle Busch took sixth from Earnhardt as Chase Elliott settled into fifth.

Elliott went to fourth on lap 37. Kurt Busch in 14th, was reporting voltage issues, the same issue he had the week prior at Vegas.  The lead was steady had around a half a second.

Blaney moved up to seventh on lap 54.  Jimmie Johnson, who had started 14th, followed after a tap to Earnhardt.

In lapped traffic, Larson was looking for the lead on lap 65. Keselowski was closing in from third.  By lap 69 it was three-way battle for the lead in lapped traffic.

Larson backed off and Keselowski was looking for second on lap 70.

The top 10 in Stage 1 (caution 2, lap 75): Logano, Larson, Keselowski, Elliott, McMurray, Kyle Busch, Blaney, Johnson, Ryan Newman and Earnhardt.

The leaders all pitted.  Logano was first out, followed by Larson, Keselowski, Elliott and McMurray.

Kurt Busch was penalized for speeding as he tried to beat the pace car out; he was held a lap. The team had changed the battery and the dash had not reset so he could not see if he was speeding.

Green came back out on lap 84.  Logano was able to take the lead as Larson and Elliott were vying for second.  On the front stretch it was a three-wide battle for the lead.  Elliott came out on top, Larson second, Logano third.  Keselowski was fourth, Kyle Busch fifth.

In clean air, Elliott began to stretch out his lead. Kurt Busch was the first car a lap down, in 33rd. Keselowski took third from Logano on lap 101.  Kyle Busch was looking for fifth by lap 104; he took the spot cleanly on lap 105.

The lead for Elliott was 1.05 seconds by lap 116.

LaJoie hit the wall again, this time entering turn 1 on lap 118 and the third caution waved. The leaders all pitted.  Elliott was out first, followed by Larson, Logano, Kyle Busch and Johnson.

Logano was nailed for speeding on pit road and sent to the back on the longest line, and restart 30th.

Elliott led the field to the green on lap 122 on the outside; Larson on the inside took the lead for a moment, but Elliott fought back and retook the lead.  Kyle Busch was third, Johnson fourth, Keselowski fifth.

Denny Hamlin who had started in the back of the field was inside the top 10 by lap 128. Elliott’s lead was nearing 1.5 seconds.  Kyle Busch was looking for second by lap 135. Logano was up to 23rd, and the lead was nearing two seconds. Johnson took third from Busch on lap 141.

By lap 145 the lead for Elliott was 2.5 seconds.

Top 10 Stage 2 (Caution 4): Elliott, Larson, Busch, Johnson, Keselowski, McMurray, Erik Jones, Blaney, Hamlin, Kevin Harvick.  The leaders all pitted.  Elliott was out first followed by Larson, Johnson, Busch and Keselowski.

The restart came on lap 157; Elliott was on the outside but Larson took a slight lead; Elliott made a crossover move and retook the lead by the end of the lap. Kyle Busch and Keselowski were able to get by Johnson: Busch was third, Keselowski fourth, Johnson settled into fifth.

The lead was just over a second by lap 164.

Kyle Busch took third on lap 189. The lead was 2.2 seconds.

Matt Kenseth hit the wall exiting turn 4 on lap 192 after losing a tire on lap 192, caution five waved.  Kenseth climbed out okay.

The leaders all pitted.  Kyle Busch was out first, Elliott second followed by Larson, Keselowski and after fighting his way forward all race long, Kevin Harvick was fifth.  There were 31 cars on the lead lap.

Busch led the restart on the outside on lap 200.  Keselowski took second, followed by Elliott, Larson and Harvick.

David Ragan lost a tire and spun on lap 205 entering turn 1 he swept up Gray Gaulding and both stopped with heavy damage. Hamlin was the only one among the leaders to pit; his crew reported a punctured tire. He dove back in to top off fuel.

The restart came on lap 212; Busch led on the outside, Keselowski on the inside. Busch had the lead by turn 1 as Keselowski and Larson were side by side for second with Keselowski getting the spot. Harvick was fourth, Elliott fell into fifth.  Logano was 11th.

Logano was starting to drop back by lap 229; he had fallen to 14th.  The lead was up to 1.8 seconds.

Keselowski reported a vibration on lap 239. Busch had stretched his lead to 2.7 seconds.  Martin Truex Jr. was inside the top 10 by lap 245. He was ninth by lap 246. The lead was just over 3 seconds.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took tenth on lap 250.

Cole Whitt brought out caution six on lap 256 when he got into the turn 1 wall.

The leaders all pitted.  Busch was out first, followed by Larson, Keselowski, Harvick and Elliott.  Blaney was penalized for speeding.  Truex got caught up on an air hose and lost may spots; he restarted 27th.

The restart came on lap 261.  Busch was able to power to the lead, Larson slid into second; Harvick was third followed by Keselowski and Erik Jones.  Logano was seventh but fighting Johnson.  Elliott was battling Jones for fifth.

Johnson had sixth and was looking for fifth by lap 271. Johnson took fifth on lap 272. The lead was less than a second.

With 25 to go Busch had stretched out his lead to 2.3 seconds. The top 10: Kyle Busch, Larson, Harvick, Keselowski, Jones, Johnson, Elliott, McMurray, Newman and Logano.

Hamlin took 10th on 293.

Newman was looking for seventh and got the spot on lap 298.

With 10 to go the lead was 2.7 seconds.  It was 3 seconds when Logano blew a tire entering turn 1 with six laps to go and hit the wall; caution number eight came out.

The leaders pitted. Four of the top five took right side tires only; Larson was out first, Kyle Busch was second, Harvick third, Kurt Busch who took no tires, and Johnson.

Newman, Stenhouse and Truex all stayed out and were the top three.  The caution set up a green white checkered flag finish.

Newman jumped out to the lead on the start, as behind Larson and Stenhouse came together, Kyle Busch was able to power past Stenhouse on the backstretch.  On the final lap Newman was leading, Larson was second, Kyle Busch third.  Larson tired one last time to get under Newman exiting turn 4 but fell short.

Stenhouse was fourth, Keselowski fifth.  Harvick was sixth, Daniel Suarez seventh, with Jones, Johnson and Hamlin rounding out the top 10.

The final stop on the NASCAR Goes West tour will be at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California next Sunday with live coverage on Fox starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.