Pennzoil 400: Larson finds luck in Las Vegas

Kyle Larson won the Pennzoil 400 on March 7, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Speer)

Las Vegas — Kyle Larson dominated the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube Sunday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, earning his first win of the 2021 season.

Kyle Larson led the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) field six times for a total of 103 laps during Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), cashing in his first win of the 2021 season for a spot in the playoffs.

“It feels good,” said Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. “I didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity to win a NASCAR race again, and then to get this opportunity and for Mr. Hendrick to take a chance on me means a lot.”

Larson dominated the majority of the 267-lap race, led the most laps and took the stage two win, but the battle was not easily won, as 12 drivers exchanged the lead 27 times throughout the afternoon.

“I got a little choked up once I came to the white flag,” said Larson. “Those last 20 laps took a really long time, and I was definitely relieved when I came to the white flag.”

Larson’s first win of the season also marked the first NCS win for crew chief Cliff Daniels, who served as crew chief for seven-time NCS champion Jimmie Johnson last year.

“It’s been quite a journey for this team and even for Kyle,” said Daniels. “Kyle coming on board has been a nice spark for this team, because [last year] was tough on our team. To end without getting that win was bittersweet, but we were quickly able to turn the page.”

Larson’s paint scheme honored the late Ricky Hendrick, son of Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick.

“My wife and I were watching, and it was emotional and it was joy, just so many things,” said Hendrick. “I love those colors. When we were going to be on the car, I wanted to run those colors with that number. It meant so much to my family to honor our son. Kyle made us proud today.”

Stage one winner Brad Keselowski finished second, but was the first to congratulate Larson on the start/finish line.

“I’m just really happy for him and happy to see him bounce back,” said Keselowski. “Everyone loves a good redemption story. I told him I wanted to win the race, but if I couldn’t, I wanted him to. We’ve all been pulling for him.”

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

NASCAR returns to LVMS Sept. 24-26 for the NCS South Point 400, NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 302 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Westgate 200 playoff races. Tickets and RV camping are on sale now at LVMS.com.


Allmendinger earns sixth career NASCAR Xfinity Series win during Las Vegas debut

Photo by Jeff Speer

Las Vegas — A.J. Allmendinger was first to the checkers Saturday afternoon at the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) drivers put on quite a show for nearly 13,000 race fans as A.J. Allmendinger fought his way to the finish line in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). Allmendinger earned his first NXS win at LVMS in his first NXS start at the Nevada speedway, locking in a spot in this year’s playoffs.

“The car was dialed in today,” said Allmendinger, driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet. “The victory is very important, but I take more pride in how we’ve run as an organization. I was enjoying watching [Justin] Haley try to take the lead from [Austin] Cindric more than I enjoyed leading the race myself, because it shows all of our cars are strong.”

Allmendinger credits the entire Kaulig Racing team with constantly improving and putting him in position to win each week, and he’s extremely thankful for the opportunity to race.

“I’m not Kyle Busch. I don’t have a hundred wins just in the Xfinity Series,” said Allmendinger. “Those of you who have been with this sport for a while have seen the ups and downs of what I went through. I have a great opportunity, and I don’t want it to be my last win. I’m not getting any younger, but quite honestly, I think I’m getting better with age.”

Stage two winner Daniel Hemric ultimately finished second after leading 74 laps, crediting his pit crew for putting him in position to win.

“The pit crew on our team is unbelievable,” said Hemric, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Supra. “Never in my career have I had this much confidence. I’m so thankful to have them on my side and have them have my back.”

Brandon Jones, Austin Cindric and Las Vegas native Noah Gragson, who has never finished below sixth at his hometrack, rounded out the top five.

Source: LVMS

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