Going into this race, many were hoping for another surprise winner for the already crazy 2021 season. Now, with four races finished we have four different winners. In what’s becoming a regular occurrence for NASCAR, we have another surprise winner. Kyle Larson (5) led 103 laps to dominate the Pennzoil 400 at Vegas. Here is the race recap from Vegas.
NASCAR has treated us with great restarts this season and Vegas was no different. Going into turn one, drivers were immediately trying to make moves to get to the front. Kevin Harvick (4) started the race in the lead but didn’t lead the first lap, which went to William Byron (24). Hendrick Motorsport was fast very early in the race, having all four cars in the top 15. Byron continued to lead the pack for the first 20 laps and then was passed by Chase Elliott (9).
The competition caution came out on lap 26 and Elliott led the pack down pit road. Larson and Denny Hamlin (11) ran in the front row on the restart. Hamlin quickly jumped out front and was arguably the best at running the bottom line on the early run. Around the midway point of the stage, Harvick got pinched by Erik Jones (43) which gave the four a flat left front a went into the wall going into turn three. During that caution, Bubba Wallace (23) seemed to have an issue and had to remain in the pits to fix the issue.
Penske began moving to the front with less than 30 laps to go. Joey Logano (22), Larson, and Brad Keselowski (2) began racing three-wide for the lead. Keselowski had to hold of Elliott to capture the stage one win.
During the stage break, Elliott had fallen behind after trying to fix damage from a previous pitting incident. At the start of stage two, Keselowski regained his lead position and had his teammate, Ryan Blaney (12), running in second. Things started to quiet down as cars began running single file for 20-30 laps. No one was able to get around Keselowski until Larson got around him with 53 laps to go in the stage.
Green flag pit-stops seemed to shake things up a bit. While the leaders were pitting, Anthony Alfredo (38) and Michael McDowell (34) led some laps before they had to pit themselves. Larson ended up missing his pit stall which extended his pit time but even that couldn’t stop him from regaining the lead. Larson ended up winning the stage.
Chase Elliott goes around! pic.twitter.com/PTgct7hESz— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 7, 2021
In one of the two big cautions in the race, Elliott spun coming out of turn two. Luckily he managed to save it and no one else was collected in the spin. The other caution came with 89 laps to go when Aric Almirola (10) had a flat left front tire and hit the wall going into turn one.
In the final restart, fresh tires reigned supreme. Larson, Keselowski, and Matt DiBenedetto (21) flew through the pack to challenge the leaders. Larson began running any line he could to get past the Penske and Gibbs cars. After getting around Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. (19), Larson began running the high side to get around Hamlin and retake the lead. He continued to lead the rest of the race in dominating fashion to land his seventh Cup Series win!
Was Vegas a Good Race?
Ever since the checkered flag flew, fans have been talking about whether or not this weekends race was good. In my opinion, it was. No, it didn’t have the usual two or three big wrecks or a photo finish. But what it did have was hard racing from start to finish. Drivers were able to run any line they needed to to gain position. Pair that with the absolutely insane restarts and that is a good race.