Larson out-duels Reddick to win NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas


While Larson statistically dominated the race – winning both stages and leading 181 of 267 laps – the end of each stage came down to a one-on-one battle between Larson and Reddick.

Larson led the way late in the final stage when a wreck by Corey LaJoie brought out a caution and sent all the lead lap cars down pit road for new tires.

Laron got a big lead on the restart with 27 laps but six laps later Reddick had moved into second and began closing the gap. Reddick got within several cars lengths as the race remained green the rest of the way by Larson edged him by 0.441 seconds at the checkered flag.

Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I knew Tyler was going to be the guy to beat from the first stage when he was really fast there,” said Larson, who took his young son and daughter for a victory ride in his No. 5 Chevrolet after the race. “I was hoping those guys were going to get racing a little bit longer behind me because I thought it was going to time out to where he was running really hard.

“I thought he and Bubba (Wallace) were going to try to work together and build a run. So, I was happy that didn’t happen. All in all, just a great, great job by this team. Just the execution on pit road, the restarts, all that was great. Cool to get a win here in Vegas again. Swept all the stages again. Can’t ask for much more.”

The win is the first for Larson this season and 24th of his career. It’s also the 10th win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Hendrick Motorsports and the fourth consecutive by an HMS driver in the tracks’ spring race.

Reigning series champion Ryan Blaney ended up third, Ross Chastain fourth and Ty Gibbs rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 were Noah Gragson, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and William Byron.

Larson now leads the series standings by eight points over Blaney with Truex in third, 14 points behind Larson.

Stage 1

Laron held off a determined Reddick by 0.469 seconds to take the Stage 1 win. Truex was third, Kyle Busch fourth and Hamlin ended up fifth.

Chris Buescher was knocked out of contention early when he lost his right-rear wheel which caused him to slam the wall between Turns 1 and 2 and did significant damage to his No. 17 Ford. The incident also caused the race to be stopped for nearly 11 minutes to make some repairs to the wall.

 

Stage 2

Larson grabbed the lead on a late restart and once again held off a spirited charge from Reddick and took the Stage 2 win by 0.176 seconds. Hamlin was third, Blaney fourth and Truex rounded out the top five.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most lead lap cars elected to remain on the track and Larson continued to lead the way when the final stage got under way with 95 laps remaining.

With 75 laps to go, Larson maintained a nearly 1.5-second lead over Reddick as Hamlin ran third.

Multiple laps down due to problems with his left-front lug nut, Bubba Wallace got in behind his 23XI Racing teammate Reddick and helped him chase down Larson, cutting his lead to under half-a-second.

With 61 laps remaining, Alex Bowman was the first of the lead lap cars to hit pit road to start a final round of green flag stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

NASCAR caught Busch for pitting outside his pit box during his stop and he had to serve a pass through penalty, which dropped him a lap down. Byron had to back up when making his stop, which cost him several positions.

When the cycle of stops was completed, Larson returned to the lead with about a 2.6-second advantage over Reddick with 46 laps to go.

On Lap 235, LaJoie spun around coming off Turn 2 and back his No. 7 Chevrolet into the wall to bring out a caution.

 

All the lead lap cars decided to pit with Larson the first off pit road, followed by Chastain, who took just two new tires. Larson led the way with 27 laps to go.

Reddick got around Chastain to move into the runner-up position with 21 laps remaining and set his sights on Larson for the lead.

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