Sunday (3/5) William Byron dominated the Pennzoil 400 in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Since the race was in Las Vegas, let’s compare it to a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. In that game, each player gets two cards and there are five community cards placed face up in the middle one by one.
Through the first two thirds of the race William Byron was the man with the hand to beat. He won the first stage and second stage of the race. He led a race high 176 laps in the race. Kyle Larson was right there with him most of the race in the runner-up position. Kyle was second in laps led at 63. To play into the Texas Hold ‘Em analogy, William had two pair to Kyle’s three of a kind with three of the five community cards showing.
Then came the turn of the fourth community card. That gave Kyle a full house. He took the lead with 39 laps remaining in the race. He was then able to drive off to a comfortable lead. It appeared that Kyle was going to cruise to the win. However, this is NASCAR and it was in Las Vegas.
With just four laps remaining in the race the #10 spun on the track causing NASCAR to throw the yellow flag. This took the race to a green-white-checkered NASCAR Overtime finish. All the cars hit pit road for tires during the caution period except Martin Truex Jr. who remained on track. William Byron’s pit crew got him out of the pits first. That put him on the front row with Martin for the restart.
When the green flag waived it was essentially the turn of the final community card known as the “River” card. That card was the one William needed to give him four of a kind to beat Kyle Larson’s full house.
William took the lead from Martin and was able to hold it through those final two laps to claim his first ever Cup Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was his first win of the 2023 season and his fifth Cup Series career win.
William’s Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) teammates Kyle Larson finished in second-place and Alex Bowman third-place. That gave HMS their third one-two-three NASCAR Cup Series race finish. See the complete race results for the Pennzoil 400 here.
Ross Chastain leaves Las Vegas at the top of the point standings. Alex Bowman is in second with Kevin Harvick in third. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
Next up the Cup Series heads to Phoenix Raceway for the United Rentals Work United 500 Sunday, March 12th.
By: Buck Stevens