Three Of A Kind: William Byron Leads 1-2-3 Hendrick Motorsports In Cup Series At Las Vegas

William Byron celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

LAS VEGAS—William Byron won the most important race of Sunday afternoon—by inches off pit road. 

Quick work by Byron’s pit crew enabled the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to beat teammate Kyle Larson off pit road for an overtime restart in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and that was the decisive factor in Byron’s fifth career NASCAR Cup Series victory. 

When Aric Almirola spun into the Turn 4 wall with four laps left of a scheduled 267, the race turned upside down. Larson held a two-second lead at that point and appeared the almost certain winner. 

After NASCAR called the fourth and final caution, Martin Truex Jr. stayed on the track, with Byron, Larson and most of the other contenders pitting for two tires. Byron’s crew was a fraction of a second faster on the stop, and Byron claimed a front-row starting spot for the overtime to Truex’s outside. 

On the first overtime lap, Byron surged past Truex as the cars entered Turn 3 at the 1.5-mile track and pulled away to win by.622 seconds over Larson and by .766 seconds over teammate Alex Bowman. It was the third time Hendrick Motorsports had finished 1-2-3 in a Cup Series event. 

The drivers accomplished the feat with their fourth driver, Chase Elliott, watching from North Carolina with team owner Rick Hendrick. Elliott broke his left tibia in a snowboarding accident in Colorado on Friday and will miss multiple races as he recovers from surgery. 

Josh Berry, substituting for Elliott, finished 29th, two laps down, in his first race in NASCAR’s Next Gen car. 

“Yeah, just been really confident about the group of guys that I have on this 24 team,” said Byron, who led 176 of 271 laps, swept the first two stages and won for the first time at Las Vegas. “They work extremely hard, and we spent a lot of time in the offseason just going through running at the sim (simulator) with Chevy and running on iRacing and just trying to get better as a race car driver and as a team. 

“Thinking of Chase back home. Wish he was out here with us. He’s a great race car driver, great teammate. Wish he was out here.”

For the overtime restart, Larson chose the inside lane behind Truex and was bottled up behind the No. 19 Toyota. But Larson acknowledged the race was lost on pit road. 

“Damn,” Larson said with a wry laugh. “It’s just part of Cup racing. It seems like kind of laps down, lap by lap, and then, sure enough, the yellow lights come on. You’ve just got to get over that and then try to execute a good pit stop, and I thought I did a really good job getting to my sign, and getting to the commitment line. 

“I had a gap to William behind me, and their pit crew must have just done a really good job and got out in front of us, and that gave up the front row. I knew I was in trouble with the 19 staying out. I felt like William was going to get by him. 

“Yeah, just a bummer that we didn’t end up the winner, but all in all, William probably had a little bit better car than I had today, and their pit crew executed when they needed to there at the end.” 

In the overtime scramble, Bubba Wallace finished fourth and Christopher Bell fifth, both in Toyotas. Austin Cindric, who had been lapped at one point, recovered to run sixth as the top-finishing Ford driver. Truex, Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick and Daniel Suarez completed the top 10. 

In a race that featured 13 lead changes among eight drivers, Larson took the top spot in Lap 196, after restarting third behind Denny Hamlin and Bowman on lap 190. The 2021 series champion extended his advantage to nearly five seconds over Byron during an exchange of green-flag pit stops before Almirola’s accident caused the fourth caution on Lap 263. 

Byron had cut Larson’s lead to two seconds before the accident forced overtime. 

The first caution for an on-track incident didn’t occur until Lap 183, nine laps after the final stage went green. Pole winner Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch were running three-wide through Turn 4 when disaster struck. 

With Keselowski’s No. 6 Ford in the middle, Logano ran out of room to the outside, and after contact with Keselowski’s car, Logano’s No. 22 Ford bounced off the wall and spun into the infield grass.   

Logano brought his car to pit road, but his crew couldn’t repair the Ford before the seven-minute time limit ran out under NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy.  

Asked whether Keselowski pinched him into the corner, Logano replied, “Yeah, he did. I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it. It is what it is. What are you going to do, right? We got fenced.” 

NASCAR Cup Series Race – Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sunday, March 5, 2023

                  1. (2)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 271.

                  2. (6)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 271.

                  3. (11)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 271.

                  4. (13)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 271.

                  5. (10)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 271.

                  6. (9)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 271.

                  7. (15)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 271.

                  8. (27)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 271.

                  9. (14)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 271.

                  10. (24)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 271.

                  11. (12)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 271.

                  12. (8)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 271.

                  13. (3)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 271.

                  14. (5)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 271.

                  15. (34)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 271.

                  16. (21)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 271.

                  17. (7)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 271.

                  18. (23)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 271.

                  19. (22)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, Accident, 270.

                  20. (19)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 270.

                  21. (18)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 270.

                  22. (4)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 270.

                  23. (31)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 270.

                  24. (16)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 270.

                  25. (17)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 270.

                  26. (35)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 269.

                  27. (26)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 269.

                  28. (20)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 269.

                  29. (32)  Josh Berry(i), Chevrolet, 269.

                  30. (25)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 269.

                  31. (28)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 268.

                  32. (36)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 266.

                  33. (29)  JJ Yeley, Ford, 265.

                  34. (33)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 265.

                  35. (30)  Cody Ware, Ford, 259.

                  36. (1)  Joey Logano, Ford, DVP, 183.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  142.98 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 50 Mins, 35 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .622 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 26 laps.

Lead Changes:  13 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Logano 1-9;W. Byron 10-36;B. Keselowski 37;T. Reddick 38-40;W. Byron 41-185;D. Hamlin 186-195;K. Larson 196-220;W. Byron 221;A. Bowman 222-223;B. Keselowski 224-227;K. Larson 228-265;W. Byron 266;M. Truex Jr. 267-269;W. Byron 270-271.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  William Byron 5 times for 176 laps; Kyle Larson 2 times for 63 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 10 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 9 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 5 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 3 laps; Tyler Reddick 1 time for 3 laps; Alex Bowman 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,5,1,20,11,19,48,23,8,6

Stage #2 Top Ten: 24,5,48,19,20,23,1,11,6,4


  1. Score one for Danica. Final caution what do you do? Take two or four tires. Four says Mike Joy without hesitation. No Danica says that would put you too far back with too little time 2 tires is the way to go. So what did Clint Bowyer recommend? Can’t say I’ve tuned him out. Is he there for comic relief or what?
    Danica for the win as the contenders take on two tires and race among themselves for the win.
    The third seat shuffle in the announcers booth works well doesn’t it? When Harvick comes on board next year they should consider punting Bowyer at least as a full timer and keep one chair on a rotation basis.

  2. Well, it looked like the Fords just didn’t have it for this track. The Chevies ruled.

    And as luck would have it, Preece got to T-Bone a car on the last lap. At least he’s consistent. Law of averages… this 💩 has to end soon and he will prevail. Can’t wait for a short track.

  3. Just finished watching on dvr.
    Crew chiefs and pit crews really earn their keep when races end like that. I was hoping it would shake out that larson and byron would end up side by side on the restart. Then truex stayed out. Oh well.
    Yup, tough day for fords. But I think keslowski getting rousch figured out. Flashes at california and LV. Blew it when he washed up into logano on the 3 wide deal.
    Preece needs a new horseshoe. The one he has is broken.

  4. Phoenix is next up and Harvick rules on that track…..maybe he gives Preece a few tips.

  5. Do you think Preece will get a win this year?  I was really encouraged by the first couple of races at LA Coliseum and Daytona, but I am starting to get concerned.  I will be honest, I didn’t catch any of yesterday’s race, but I don’t see him in the top 10 of either stage finishes, and it doesn’t look like he qualified all that well (31). 4 races and 3 wrecked cars is not a good start, even if they haven’t been his fault. I will say that with Preece in the field, I have already watched more NASCAR this year than all of last year.   It was a low bar to get over. 

  6. Well, that was somewhat boring. Preece not a factor all day, in fact none of the fords were. Hopefully Phoenix fares better for Ryan. 3 races in, 3 places lower than 30th. Can’t let this hole turn into a pit.

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