NASCAR | Kyle Larson Wins Big in Vegas

Kyle Larson wins big as he takes the checkered flag at Las Vegas. This is Larson’s first win on a 1.5-mile track after finishing runner-up a record nine times. Not a record to brag about, but Larson broke another record with his victory. In only his fourth start with Hendrick Motor Sports, he is the quickest driver to get a victory with HMS. It was an emotional victory for Larson who was suspended almost all of last season, and Larson shared his gratitude in speaking with reporters after the race stating, “But thank you so much Mr. Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for the amazing opportunity I’ve been gifted. Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet everybody at the engine shop. Thank you so much for all the hard work. This is definitely special.”

In a fairly uneventful race, Larson dominated, leading a race-high 103 laps, and beating 2nd place driver Brad Keselowski by 3.156 seconds. Though an uneventful race, there was still plenty of action, having 27 lead changes among 20 different drivers. Larson also won Stage 2, along with putting all but 13 cars a lap down. Keselowski won Stage 1, but could not come close to Larson at the end.

The Xfinity race had some more excitement with 22 lead changes between seven different drivers. There were also eight cautions for a total of 45 laps, with the final caution coming with only 12 laps to go. AJ Allmendinger was able to hold off the field to take the checkered flag. This is Allmendinger’s first full-time season since 2018 when he ran in the Cup Series, and he’s off to a good start. Allmendinger also has two top fives and two top tens so far this season.

Stage 1 was won by Austin Cindric and Daniel Hemric won Stage 2. Hemric also almost caught Allmendinger at the end as he crossed the line just .978 seconds behind. Rookies Ryan Vargas and Josh Berry finished in 35th and 9th respectively. This is Josh Berry’s second top ten so far this season, helping him to remain in the lead for Rookie of the Year.

The Truck race was a sight to see with 10 trucks sponsored by Camping World owner Marcus Lemonis, as a way to help smaller teams get some funding. He even offered a bonus to any of his sponsored trucks that won or finished in the top five or top ten. Grant Enfinger and Parker Kligerman both collected a $25,000 bonus check for finishing in the top ten.

But the big winner was John Hunter Nemechek who won both Stage 1 and took the final checkered flag. Nemechek held off his boss, Kyle Busch, who won Stage 2, for the victory. The final restart came with only six laps to go, but Nemechek held off Busch and crossed the line just .695 seconds ahead. Nemechek’s win puts him in a 14-point advantage in the championship standings. As for the Rookie of the Year standings, Chandler Smith remains in the lead as he was the only rookie to crack the top 20, finishing 19th.  Chase Purdy, Carson Hocevar, and Kris Wright followed each other across the finish line, finishing 23rd, 24th, and 25th, respectively. Hailie Deegan finished 28th, which was two spots ahead of where she started.

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