To describe William Byron’s run at Las Vegas as anything but dominant would be simply insulting to the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
Byron led a race high 176 laps and won both stages en route to the victory in Sin City after starting on the outside pole position. Teammate Kyle Larson added an additional 63 laps led. The HMS duo led 239 of 271 laps.
Byron becomes the third race winner in three races this season, provisionally joining fellow Chevy drivers Kyle Busch (Fontana) and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Daytona) in the 2023 playoffs.
After a caution-free stage one and two (minus the mandatory stage cautions), the first incident of the race came on lap 182 after polesitter and pre-race favorite Joey Logano was squeezed into the outside wall and spun across the track, nearly collecting Ricky Stenhouse. Logano suffered a broken toe link and retired from the race, finishing last.
The caution did not fly again until Aric Almirola scraped the wall with two laps to go, forcing an overtime. Martin Truex, Jr. played a strategy gamble by staying out while the leaders pit. This strategy worked for about a lap before Byron took the lead back and held on.
A multi-car accident occurred on the backstretch during the final lap, but NASCAR elected to keep the race green for a race to the finish line.
Byron was followed by Hendrick teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman in the top three, with Toyota drivers Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
The top-three sweep capped off a difficult weekend for the HMS team. 2020 Cup champion and five-time most-popular driver Chase Elliott suffered a fractured tibia while snowboarding on Thursday, rendering him out indefinitely. He was replaced by Josh Berry who finished 29th
The Cup Series moves next to Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona to complete the West Coast Swing. Additionally, this race brings the debut of NASCAR’s new short track aero package, which was introduced last week.
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