Hendrick Chevys go 1-2-3 in Las Vegas

William Byron does the traditional burnout after taking the checkered flag in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400. Photo by David Barks

LAS VEGAS – It was a great day for Hendrick Motorsports Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In overtime, William Byron outran teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman to win NASCAR’s Pennzoil 400 Cup race, the third time Hendrick Chevrolet Camaros finished 1-2-3 in a NASCAR Cup race.

William Byron crosses the finish line to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race in Las Vegas. It was the fifth win of Byron’s career. Photo by David Barks

“This Chevy was awesome,” said Byron. “We just had to have the right things play out today and they did.”

Realistically, it was a two-man race all afternoon, between Byron, who led 176 of the race’s 271 laps, and Larson, who led 63.

Polesitter Joey Logano started first but finished last, the only driver in the 36-car field not to finish the race.

Logano led the first nine laps with Byron, who started second, hot on his tail and Larson right behind.

On the 10th lap, Byron took the lead, Larson grabbed second and Logano began to fall behind.

The Hendrick duo dominated through the end of both Stages 1 and 2, finishing first and second, respectively, in the caution-free stages through 165 laps of the scheduled 267-lap race over the speedway’s one-and-a-half mile oval.

Pole Sitter Joey Logano (22) leads the field at the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Pennzoil 400 Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by David Barks

Logano’s day was done on lap 183.

Racing three-wide, Logano was on the outside with Brad Keselowski in the middle and Kevin Harvick inside when Keselowski and Logano banged sides, sending Logano first into the wall and then sliding into the infield.

Logano’s crew ran out of time to make the necessary repairs in the pits, ending his day.

During the caution, everyone headed to the pits.

Denny Hamlin made it a two-tire stop while the rest of the leaders opted for four fresh Goodyear tires.

That put Hamlin into the lead on the restart with Bowman second and Larson third.

Byron had some trouble during his pit stop and got shuffled back to fourth place.

“That was on me,” said Byron. “I just came into the box a little hot.”

Hamlin could only hold the lead for 10 laps before Larson moved into first place.

Larson then opened a nearly six-second lead on the field.

Byron got by Hamlin for second on lap 230 but still trailed Larson by more than four seconds.

It looked like Larson would cruise to victory unless something happened and, this being NASCAR, something did.

With two laps to go, Aric Almirola went into the wall on Turn 4, bringing out the day’s fourth, and final, caution.

“When the caution came out, I thought ‘damn,’” said Larson. “It’s just a bummer that we didn’t get the win but William had the better car today. It’s just a part of Cup racing. I’ll just have to get over it and it’s on to the next stop.”

That set up overtime and a two-lap sprint to the finish.

Martin Truex Jr leads the final restart at the end of Sunday’s Pennzoil 400. Truex lost the lead coming out of Turn four and finished seventh. Photo by David Barks

While the leaders pitted for right-side tires, Martin Truex Jr, who was sitting fourth, stayed on the track, giving him the lead at the restart.

Byron won the race out of the pits to line up second with Larson third and Hamlin fourth.

Truex’s gamble, in this gambling mecca, failed.

On the first of the two overtime laps, Byron, Larson, Bowman and several others sprinted past Truex coming out of Turn 4 and they stayed that way for the Hendrick team’s 1-2-3 finish with Bubba Wallace finishing fourth followed by Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Truex, Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick, and Daniel Suarez.

“I started the race strong. Kyle came with me and I knew we had two good cars. I had to navigate lapped traffic but that was the biggest problem I had,” said Byron. “It’s good to get that first win of the year. This shows what this team is truly capable of.”

NASCAR completes its Western swing next week at the Phoenix Raceway.

William Byron and his team celebrate Sunday afternoon in Victory lane after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by David Barks
William Byron (24) takes the lead from Ryan Blaney (12) as they cross the start/finish line at the start of lap 11 in Sunday’s NASCAR Pennzoil 400 Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by David Barks
Josh Berry (9) leads a pack of racers (Cody Ware (51), Harrison Burton (21), and Ty Dillon (77)) at the back of the field during Sunday’s NASCAR Pennzoil 400 Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Berry filled in for Chase Elliott who suffered a broken leg during a snowboarding accident in Colorado on Friday. Photo by David Barks
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