The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Byron led charge for Hendrick at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — One way or another, a Hendrick Motorsports driver figured to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas.
Kyle Larson nearly won the Pennzoil 400 in regulation, but a late caution put teammate William Byron in position to capture the checkered flag in overtime.
Byron took the lead on the second-to-last lap of OT to put an exclamation mark on a dominant day for Hendrick. The top three drivers were from Hendrick, with Byron, Larson and Alex Bowman pushing their Chevrolets across the finish line in that order.
Bowman won last year’s March race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Byron led 176 laps and won for the fifth time in his six Cup seasons.
“I’ve led a lot of laps in a couple of races, but to be this good with this team is definitely a good sign,” Byron said. “It’s a different feeling for me having a team around me that can execute that well. That’s just a team effort.”
Larson appeared headed for victory when when Aric Almirola hit the wall in turn four on lap No. 264, leading to the second caution of the day.
“I feel like I could have eight or 10 more Cup wins if it wasn’t for cautions in the last five laps,” Larson said. “I don’t remember many of those working out in my favor.”
Byron, who started in the first row with Joey Logano, swept both stages for the first time in his career. Truex in 2017 and Kevin Harvick in 2018 also won both stages in Las Vegas and went on to win.
Defending champ hits wall
Logano, the defending Cup champion who won the Las Vegas race in October, hit the wall in in turn four on lap No. 183, ending his day.
He was running threewide with Brad Keselowski in the middle and Kyle Busch on the apron when Logano bumped into Keselowski, sending his Team Penske No. 22 Ford into the wall.
“I’m sure (Keselowski) didn’t mean to do it,” Logano said. “What are you going to do, right? We got fenced.”