Race Report: William Byron leads a Hendrick Motorsports 1–2–3 sweep at Las Vegas

Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle
3 min readMar 6, 2023

5 March 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

LAS VEGAS, NV — It was a dominant display by Hendrick Motorsports sweeping the top 3 spots in the Pennzoil 400 led by winner William Byron in the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, followed by teammate Kyle Larson in the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 2nd, and Alex Bowman in the #48 Ally Chevrolet in 3rd today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Quite a statement after the weekend started with news that fellow Hendrick driver Chase Elliott has broken his leg while on a snowboarding adventure and would miss the race.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — MARCH 05: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 05, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

After dominating most of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, winning both Stages 1 and 2, William Byron completed the mission in NASCAR Overtime powering to victory.

Byron lined up on Martin Truex Jr.’s outside. Truex Jr opted to stay out on old tires for the final restart but that strategy failed as Byron, with much fresher right-side tires, quickly disposed of the #19 Toyota to win his first race of the 2023 season — notably, the third in a row for Chevrolet (Ricky Stenhouse won the Daytona 500 and Kyle Busch won last week at Fontana- both in Chevrolets).

Byron led 176 laps, his most ever at a 1.5-mile track and only second to his dominant 2022 showing at Martinsville Speedway.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — MARCH 05: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada (Image: GFT Digital / gofullthrottle.net)

Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson and the №5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet team put in a strong performance after struggling the first 2 weeks of the regular season, leading the field by a significant margin in the closing laps. With 4 laps to go Larson had a 4 second advantage and looked to be going to Victory Lane. But a caution reset the field with only three laps remaining, sending the race into NASCAR Overtime.

Aric Almirola spun into the wall, bringing out the final caution of a day that otherwise ran mostly green throughout. James Small, crew chief for Truex Jr., was the only car in the top 10 that elected to stay out on over 30-lap-old tires. A gamble that resulted in a 7th place finish.

Larson finished in 2nd with 63 laps led, followed by teammate Alex Bowman to compete the 1–2–3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports. Josh Berry, making the start in place of an injured Chase Elliott, finished 29th in just his third Cup Series race and first in a Next Gen car.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — MARCH 05: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, is congratulated by Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 05, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — MARCH 05: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, and crew celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 05, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Toyota veterans Bubba Wallace finished 4th and Christopher Bell 5th, while Austin Cindric, Truex Jr., Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick and Daniel Suárez completed the top 10.

Polesitter Joey Logano exited the race in the final stage after contact with the wall and a spin through the infield. He was credited with a last-place result.

NEXT WEEK:
The 2023 Cup Series season continues Sunday, March 12 at Phoenix Raceway for the United Rentals Work United 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association