Pennzoil 400: William Byron Dominates in Las Vegas

After winning both stages and dominating the day, William Byron’s Hendrick #24 took the checkered flag in Las Vegas.

Going into the day the main stories were Chase Elliott’s snowboarding accident sidelining him for the foreseeable future, which saw Josh Berry promoted to the #9 car for today’s race and Harrison Burton’s practice crash causing him to go to a backup car. 

Lining up on the pole was the most recent Vegas winner Joey Logano with Byron’s #24 to his outside. The green flag dropped for the first time and the #22 of Logano jumped out into the top spot, as Byron fell back into the clutches of Logano’s Penske teammate Ryan Blaney. 

Byron held off Blaney for 2nd, and Blaney was then quickly dispatched by Larson in the #5 and the Hendrick duo of Byron and Larson began to chase down Logano. On lap 10 Byron took the lead from Logano and a lap later Larson took second from the pole sitter. 

The first green flag pit stops of the day began on lap 33 with the #12 of Blaney pitting, followed by Truex a lap later and the #11 a lap after that. Byron pitted on lap 37 and managed to maintain his lead once everything had cycled through. The running order was Byron, Larson, Chastain and Bell. 

The rest of the stage was uneventful and Byron cruised out front to win stage 1 from Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson.

Stage 1 Results

  1. #24 – William Byron
  2. #5 – Kyle Larson
  3. #1 – Kyle Busch
  4. #20 – Christopher Bell
  5. #11 – Denny Hamlin
  6. #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  7. #48 – Alex Bowman
  8. #23 – Bubba Wallace
  9. #8 – Kyle Busch
  10.  #6 – Brad Keselowski

Stage break pit stops saw the #24 out in front from the #5, #11, #1 and the #19.

We returned to green on lap 90 with the Hendrick duo out front. Byron reclaimed the lead and the #5 was tied up in a battle for 2nd with Hamlin in the #11.

The second cycle of green flag pit stops began on lap 120 with Buescher in the #17 pitting, who then proceeded to drag the rest of the field to pit in the following laps. Lap 126 saw the leaders all pit. Once again, Byron cycled out in front with the #5 behind him in second and the #20 in 3rd. 

In the closing laps of the stage Larson tried to run down Byron but got loose while catching lapped cars and dropped back. Byron won stage 2 ahead of his two Hendrick teammates of Larson and Bowman in the #48. 

Stage 2 Results

  1. #24 – William Byron
  2. #5 – Kyle Larson
  3. #48 – Alex Bowman
  4. #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
  5. #20 – Christopher Bell
  6. #23 – Bubba Wallace
  7. #1 – Ross Chastain
  8. #11 – Denny Hamlin
  9. #6 – Brad Keselowski
  10.  #4 – Kevin Harvick

After stage break pit stops, Byron and Larson held the front row once again. We returned to action on lap 174 with Byron resuming his spot at the head of the field. 

Lap 182 saw the first caution for cause of the day, as Logano, Busch and Keselowski were 3-wide in turn 4 fighting for 14th, Logano got high and into the wall and spun into the infield grass. He was done for the day. 

The field pitted once again under the caution and it was the #11 of Denny Hamlin out in front of Alex Bowman in the #48. Hamlin and Bowman lined up in front for the lap 189 restart where Hamlin jumped to the point for the first time in the day. Larson managed to get by the #48 for 2nd and was quickly challenging Hamlin for the top spot. With 75 to go, Larson took the lead.

With 48 to go the last cycle of pit stops commenced with the #11, then the #5 a lap later and the rest of the field in the ensuing laps. After the cycle was completed, the #5 was out front, with Hamlin in p2.

As the laps wound down, Larson was in front from his Hendrick teammate Byron. The victory looked to be in Larson’s pocket until 4 to go when the caution was thrown due to Almirola in the #10 getting into the wall. 

Under the caution flag, the #19 of Truex stayed out and the rest of the field came into the pits. Byron got out front with a 2 tire stop from the #5 and the #11. 

Truex and Byron lined up for the overtime restart and Truex launched out front into turn 1 with Byron hanging on his outside. Down the backstretch Byron managed to pull ahead into 3-4 and took the white while Truex fell into the clutches of Larson and Bowman. The Hendrick duo cleared Truex on the backstretch and fought each other to the line while Byron took the checkered flag. Larson finished 2nd with Bowman 3rd for a Hendrick 1-2-3 while Bubba Wallace finished 4th with Toyota teammate Christopher Bell in 5th.

On the final lap, AJ Allmendinger in the #16 got loose up top and spun across the field, getting T-Boned by Preece in the #41. The accident also collected Erik Jones in the #43 and Michael McDowell in the #34. All drivers were checked and released from the infield care center, with only Jones unable to make it back around to the checkered flag. 

Featured Image Credits: Patrick Vallely

Published by Joe Sell

Joe is a writer from Poole, UK. He is a fan of anything with four wheels and an engine and his favorite drivers are Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. Outside of racing, he enjoy watching sports and listening to country music.

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