NASCAR: William Byron wins at Las Vegas after late restart

Chevrolet drivers have won the first three races of the 2023 Cup Series season

William Byron needed some help from a late crash to get the win at Las Vegas on Sunday.

Byron came out of the pits first ahead of teammate Kyle Larson before a two-lap restart to end the race. The race was extended four laps to 271 after Aric Almirola hit the wall with four laps to go.

Larson had the race won before Almirola’s half spin and wall hit. He was two seconds ahead of Byron.

Martin Truex Jr. stayed out and was the race leader before the final restart but had tires that were more than 40 laps old. Byron’s two fresh tires were enough to get past Truex on the first lap of the restart and pull away on the second.

Larson finished second and their Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman finished third. Truex fell from second to seventh on the last lap.

It’s the third straight win for Chevrolet to start the season and the first time drivers from the same manufacturer have won the first three races of a season since Chevy drivers won the first three races of 2010.

Byron was the dominant driver for the first two-thirds of the race. He won the first two stages but found himself behind Larson and Denny Hamlin on the penultimate restart. He raced his way to second behind Larson after the final green-flag pit stop cycle of the race, but wasn’t going to catch Larson without the caution.

It was also the second straight time the two-tire stop strategy has worked for Hendrick in the spring at Vegas. The team’s drivers took three tires ahead of the last restart a year ago and Alex Bowman won the race.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: William Byron (#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) during the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube on March 5, 2023, Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
William Byron (#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) during the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ford’s rough day

Logano and Almirola’s crashes were an indicator of Ford’s struggles throughout the race. Just two Ford drivers finished in the top 10 and its drivers led 15 laps total.

The Hendrick Chevrolets and Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas were the fastest cars on the track — the Hendrick cars especially. With Larson’s 63 laps led and a couple from Alex Bowman, Hendrick drivers led all but 30 of the race’s laps.

Josh Berry finished 29th subbing for Chase Elliott in the fourth Hendrick car. Saturday was Berry’s first time in a this version of Cup Series car. Elliott suffered a fractured left tibia on Friday while snowboarding and is set to miss multiple races.

Race results

1. William Byron

2. Kyle Larson

3. Alex Bowman

4. Bubba Wallace

5. Christopher Bell

6. Austin Cindric

7. Martin Truex Jr.

8. Justin Haley

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Daniel Suarez

11. Denny Hamlin

12. Ross Chastain

13. Ryan Blaney

14. Kyle Busch

15. Tyler Reddick

16. Aric Almirola

17. Brad Keselowski

18. AJ Allmendinger

19. Erik Jones

20. Corey LaJoie

21. Chris Buescher

22. Ty Gibbs

23. Ryan Preece

24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25. Michael McDowell

26. Harrison Burton

27. Austin Dillon

28. Chase Briscoe

29. Josh Berry

30. Noah Gragson

31. Todd Gilliland

32. BJ McLeod

33. JJ Yeley

34. Ty Dillon

35. Cody Ware

36. Joey Logano