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Team Penske puts all three cars in top five at Auto Club Speedway

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 17: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 AAA Southern California Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 17, 2019 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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As far as Joey Logano is concerned, there was nothing Team Penske could do to stop Kyle Busch from leaving Auto Club Speedway with his 200th national NASCAR series win.

It was Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski who - barring a caution over the final 30 laps - stood as the last obstacle between Busch and Victory Lane.

But Busch took advantage of them aggressively fighting for the lead to take it himself on Lap 175.

He never looked back.

“We were racing hard and no matter who got to the lead, the 18 (Busch) was going to pass us,” Logano said. “He was the best car today. We have some work to do to get faster but the team did a great job today. We held strong today with the Auto Club Ford Mustang. You want to win at the home track of your sponsor. We gave it a solid run. I hate being that close.”

In the end, Logano and Keselowski finished second and third respectively. Ryan Blaney wound up fifth to put all of Penske’s Fords in the top five for the first time this season. They last accomplished the feat in the 2018 playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Penske has had at least one car in the top five in all five races this season, with Logano and Keselowski tied with three top fives apiece.

On Sunday, Logano placed in the top five in every stage while Keselowski finished second in Stage 2 and led 42 laps, second only to Busch.

“We were really good and got to the lead there on that last run, but I just couldn’t quite keep it there,” Keselowski said. “It was a good effort by the team, and we were right there in position, and we gave it all we had.”

Blaney has two consecutive top fives after his third-place finish in Phoenix. That’s after he started the year failing to finish better than 22nd in the first three races.

“We just weren’t very good the first run, but we got a lot better,” Blaney said. “We had a lap-and-a-half on our tires when the caution came out (on Lap 165). I thought if I could control the race from the front row and be the leader that I might be able to hold on because I thought our car was pretty good at the time.

“I was fourth by the time we got to Turn 1. I got no push. It took 10 laps for it to come in, and we were eighth and drove back to fifth. We had a really fast PPG Ford Mustang, we just never got the lead or track position with equal tires and that hurt us, but overall not a bad day.”

With eight combined top fives through five races, Team Penske heads to Martinsville Speedway, where the team has had success in recent years.

Logano won there last October in a dramatic duel with Martin Truex Jr. Keselowski took the win in the March 2017 race.

Each Penske driver claimed a top five at the 0.526-mile track last year.

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