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NASCAR Cup Series: Kyle Larson dominates in Vegas

Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit - The Podium Finish

A week separated from the stellar photo-finish in Atlanta, affairs calmed down for the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas, as Kyle Larson cruised to a comfortable victory. This was Larson’s first win of the season, redeeming his non-finishes across the opening two rounds at Daytona and Atlanta.

Prior to the green flag, three drivers had to drop to the rear: Ross Chastain for an unapproved adjustment with the paint wrap, Ryan Preece for usage of the backup car following a practice crash, and Justin Haley also for unapproved adjustment in the steering column.

The first stage started relatively calm, with the only incident being Spire’s Zane Smith getting into the wall and falling down the order with a flat tire – though no caution was thrown for the incident. 

This wasn’t until Christopher Bell fell to a flat tire on lap 10, bringing out the race’s first caution. Another caution was flown on lap 27, this time for Chris Buescher who had a tyre fall off in turn one, slamming the wall. Buescher’s crash caused damage to the wall, resulting in an early red flag.

After the red flag, the battle up front stalled out. No more cautions came out, as Larson pulled away comfortably, and cruised to the first stage victory with Tyler Reddick following behind.

The second stage continued where the first left off. Larson continued his domination up front, mostly uncontested aside brief charges from Kyle Busch and Tyler Reddick. It remained caution-free until 10 to go in the stage, when Bell went for another spin off turn two. 

With four laps to go in the stage, the ensuing restart saw Kyle Larson briefly battle Alex Bowman for stage victory, and Larson cruised to the second stage – sweeping both with Tyler Reddick behind in both.

The final stage began as more of the same. Larson dashed into the lead and pulled a two-second gap early. Even after green flag stops, no one could catch the #5. However, with 33 laps to go, Spire’s Corey LaJoie went for a spin off turn two, bringing out a caution.  

The restart saw Larson have his biggest challenge yet. With a fast stop, Ross Chastain found his way up front and started challenging him. However, Larson edged ahead, and managed to once again pull away up front.

Yet, Reddick’s car began to come alive late. With 10 laps to go, the 23XI driver closed to within five-tenths of Larson ahead, and began to put pressure on the Hendrick driver. As the race wound down, it turned into a nail-biter, with Reddick hounding Larson.

Image Credits - Ian Maule/AP Photo

It wasn’t enough, though. Kyle Larson crossed the line to take his first victory of the season, with Reddick close behind in second. Ryan Blaney finished a quiet third, with Ross Chastain holding on to fourth. Ty Gibbs rounded out the top five.

Catch the next round of the NASCAR Cup Series at the Phoenix Raceway, on Sunday, 10th March, for the United Rentals Work United 500. 


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