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Kyle Larson Holds Off Tyler Reddick for Third Las Vegas Victory

Photo by Meg Oliphant of Getty Images

There’s just something about Las Vegas Motor Speedway that seems to suit Kyle Larson.

For the third time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, the Elk Grove, California-native is parking his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile facility, after dominating Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube.

Since he first joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2021, Larson has recorded top-two finishes in five of his seven starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while amassing an incredible 602 laps led.

Despite leading a race-high 181 laps, the most in a NASCAR Cup Series event at the track since Spring 2018, the 31-year-old driver didn’t exactly run away with the victory on Sunday, facing a major challenge from Tyler Reddick in the closing laps of the event.

Throughout the entire afternoon, Reddick continually showed long-run pace superior to that of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, but could never find the proper time to make a damning pass for the lead of the race, via circumstances not of his own doing.

The battle between the top-two drivers became exponentially more intense in the race’s final laps, as the 23XI Racing driver continued to reel in Larson from more than a second behind, getting himself with a quarter-second of the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

However, the nail in the coffin for Reddick came with two laps remaining, with the Corning, California native choosing to run the inside line in turns three and four, the exact same path that the race leader took, causing his Toyota Camry XSE to get tight and lose time down the frontstretch.

“I knew Tyler was going to be the guy to beat from the first stage. He was really fast there. I was hoping those guys were going to get racing a little bit longer behind me because I felt like it was going to time out where he was running really hard and getting the tow to catch me at the end,” said Larson post-race. “Thankfully was able to air-block him a couple laps and get him tight. I thought him and Bubba were going to get working together again to build a run, so I was happy that didn’t happen.”

Despite not winning the race on Sunday, a second-place finish for Tyler Reddick is far and away the best finish of the season for the No. 45 team, besting a 29th-place result in the NASCAR Cup Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.

It’s the name of the NextGen game, right? You get the lead, you’ve got to hold on to it. Yeah, Kyle did a really good job there of pretty much taking away every option I had to close the gap,” said Reddick. “Yeah, he seemed pretty good in the middle, and I was obviously really good on the bottom. He just never let me have it.”

“I kept trying to run higher and higher and he was kind of running right in the middle of the racetrack there, was kind of pretty efficient to block both lanes. Every time I kind of got close, we were running just wide open enough in Turn 1 and 2 that he could kind of defend pretty well. It’s frustrating. I feel like we were never up front really all day long until it got to the stage end.”

Ryan Blaney, the defending champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, picked up his sixth top-two result in his last nine starts at NASCAR’s top level, finishing third in his No. 12 Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Team Penske.

After being the only driver to take two tires on the final pit stop of the afternoon, Ross Chastain managed to hold on for a fourth-place finish, while Ty Gibbs overcame a transmission issue to secure the final spot in the top-five for Sunday’s 400-miler.

Noah Gragson, in his third race with Stewart-Haas Racing, came home with a sixth-place finish, while Martin Truex, Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and William Byron rounded out the top-10.

Byron, the winner of the 2024 Daytona 500, looked to have a car equally as fast as his teammate Kyle Larson, but was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop during the race’s first stage when a giant trash bag covered the front grille.

Of the 37 drivers that started Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas, all but Chris Buescher finished the race. The RFK Racing driver had an early exit from the event, after losing the right front wheel on his No. 17 Ford Mustang and crashing hard into the outside wall.

After three races in the 2024 season, Kyle Larson leads the NASCAR Cup Series point standings by eight markers over Ryan Blaney. Martin Truex, Jr., William Byron, and Ross Chastain complete the top five in point standings heading to Phoenix Raceway.

Race Results: NCS Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas

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