Yesterday (3/14) was the Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway, the 5th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Martin Truex Jr. became the fifth different winner in those five races.
The race began with Team Penske drivers looking like they would be the cars to beat. Team Penske drivers Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski combined to lead 197 laps in the 312 lap race. Blaney edged out Logano for the stage one win. Logano scored the win in stage two.
Logano looked to be the class of the field as he led a race high 143 laps. Martin Truex Jr. looked strong all day as spent 64 laps as the leader of the race. The important part of his time as the leader came following the race’s seventh and final caution.
Logano was the leader for the re-start. However, when the green flag waived Truex Jr. was able to drive his way past Logano to take the lead with just 25 laps remaining. Truex Jr. was able to hold that lead for those final laps to claim his first win of the 2021 season and his first win at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Logano was able to hold on for the runner-up finish. Truex Jr.’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin captured third place. Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski came across the finish line in fourth place. Defending 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott rounded out the top five after winning the championship at this track last November. See the complete race results for the Instacart 500 here.
Denny Hamlin holds the top spot in the point standings for another week and Brad Keselowski also remains in second place. Joey Logano moves up to third place. Martin Truex Jr.’s win brings him up to fourth place. Kyle Larson slips from third place back to fifth place. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The NASCAR Cup Series leaves the west and heads to the south east this week for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday, March 21st.
By: Buck Stevens