The NASCAR Pennzoil 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway as it happened

Kevin Harvick did it again. Harvick led the most laps and won the Monster Energy Cup Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday. He led a race high 214 laps in route to the 39th win of his career.  Here’s how it all went down Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

From his first career Las Vegas pole and the third of his career, Ran Blaney led the field to the green on the inside lane; Harvick shared the front row on the outside. Kurt Busch, defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. and Saturday’s Xfinity Series race winner Kyle Larson rounded out the top five starters.

Jimmie Johnson, who was to start 14th, failed prerace inspection three times; his car chief was ejected, and Johnson was forced to start at the rear of the field.

Blaney had the lead by turn 1; Kurt Busch and Harvick were side by side behind.  Harvick had second by the end of the lap; he took the lead exiting turn 2 on lap 2.  Kurt Busch secured third, Truex fourth.  Larson was fifth.

Truex took third on lap 5.

The lead for Harvick was 1.1 seconds by lap 9. It was just over 2 seconds by lap 15. Truex had caught Blaney and was looking for second.  Harvick had caught the back of the field and started lapping cars.

Truex had second by lap 17. The lead was 2.2 seconds.

Kurt Busch was looking for third from Blaney on lap 21.

Johnson was lapped on lap 34, there were 26 cars on the lead lap.

Larson took fourth from Kurt Busch on lap 36.

Joey Logano in 7th was among those who were pitting deeper in the field.

Truex putted on lap 38.  Harvick followed from the lead.  The rest of the top five came in as did most of the field.

Those staying out hoping for a caution and taking over the top 4 spots: Michael McDowell, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto and Johnson.  Harvick was fifth by lap 44.

DiBenedetto pitted on lap 46.

William Byron pitted from 13th on lap 49 with a vibration.  Johnson also pitted.

Harvick caught McDowell and retook the lead on lap 50.

Johnson, a lap down again after pitting was trying to hold off leader Harvick to avoid losing another lap.

Harvick’s lead over Truex was 2.4 seconds by lap 56.  Blaney, Larson and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

Truex was told to save fuel to the end of the stage as the team had not gotten the full fuel load.  There were 20 laps to the end of the stage. The lead for Harvick was just over 4 seconds.

Larson took third from Blaney on lap 62.

Harvick had a 5 second lead by lap 65.

With 10 to go in the first stage there were 15 cars on the lead lap, and Johnson was still staying ahead of Harvick.

With five to go in the stage; Harvick seemed content to ride it out; Johnson was able to stretch out his advantage.

Logano took fifth on lap 77.

Top 10 Stage 1:  Harvick, Truex, Larson, Blaney, Logano, Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.  There were 15 cars on the lead lap and Harvick had a lead of 3.6 seconds.

The leaders pitted on lap 82.

Harvick was out first followed by Larson, Blaney, Logano and Kyle Busch. Truex had a sow stop and came out sixth, losing four spots.

Green came out to start lap 89 and Stage 2.

Harvick had a clear lead by turn 1, it was three wide behind. Blaney emerged with second, Larson, Logano and Truex fell in behind.

The lead was soon stretching out and was just over a second by lap 91.

After leading earlier, McDowell was reporting possible engine issues on lap 100. He headed to the garage on lap 102.

Harvick had a lead of just over 2 seconds by lap 109.

Keselowski and Kyle Busch crept up and passed Truex on lap 121; Logano pitted, Keselowski, Larson and Truex followed.  Harvick pitted on the same lap.

Denny Hamlin who was 10th when he pitted was penalized for speeding.

On the track Larson hit the wall and NASCAR asked its officials to check the car for smoke. Kyle Busch pitted from the lead on lap 125. Harvick was back in the lead on lap 126.

Behind Harvick Logano was second followed by Blaney, Keselowski and Larson.

Kyle Busch had an issue with the pit gun and he was forced back in; Daniel Suarez also reported a pit gun issue.

Blaney took second on lap 134.  Larson took fourth on lap 149.

With 10 to go in Stage 2 the lead was just over 3 seconds.

Larson took third on lap 154.

Top 10 Stage 2: Harvick, Blaney, Larson, Logano, Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Truex, Kurt Busch, Elliott and Menard.  Harvick won the stage by 5 seconds, there were 13 cars on the lead lap.

The leaders pitted on lap 163. Logano was out first followed by Kyle Busch, Blaney, Harvick and Elliott.

Green came out to start lap 166.   Logano shot to the lead; Blaney followed, it was three wide behind: Elliott, Kyle Busch and Harvick who fell to fifth on the restart.   Harvick and Kyle Busch were side by side for third the next lap. Elliott was close behind. When it sorted out; Kyle Busch was third, Elliott fourth, Harvick still in fifth.

Harvick took fourth on lap 171. Kurt Busch and Keselowski were side by side just behind Elliott.

Jamie McMurray slid out of turn 2 on lap 176 while running 11th and hit the wall; caution four came out.  McMurray was done for the day.

The leaders pitted. Truex however, stayed out.

Logano took 2 tires and was out first followed by Kyle Busch, Harvick and Keselowski all of whom took four.

Green came out to start lap 182.

Logano shot by for the lead; Harvick followed.  Kurt Busch got loose and slid out exiting turn 4, Elliott was collected, both when into the wall; caution 4 came out.  Truex had fallen to sixth.

Johnson got the free pass and was back on the lead lap.

Truex was one of the few cars to pit.  He came back out in 10th.

Green came out to start lap 194, there were 13 cars on the lead lap.

Logano got ahead, but Harvick shot by for the lead on the lower line; Blaney followed to take second.  Logano fell into third; he had only two tires; Truex was up to sixth by lap 196. He was fifth a lap later but was reporting a vibration.

The lead for Harvick was 1.7 seconds by lap 199. Behind it was Blaney, Logano, Larson and Truex.

Harvick’s lead was 2.2 seconds by lap 207.

Truex took fourth on lap 210; Larson took the spot back a lap later.  Larson then took third from Logano.

Kyle Busch took fifth from Truex on lap 215; Kyle Busch tried to get by Logano but was blocked. He backed up then shot by for fourth, Truex followed to fifth.

Keselowski pitted from seventh on lap 217.

The lead for Harvick was just over 4 seconds by lap 224.

Larson pitted on lap 224 just after Logano, Harvick followed as did the rest of the top runners.

Kyle Busch and Truex stayed out putting the field a lap down.

Truex pitted on lap 229. Kyle Busch pitted a lap later handing the lead back to Harvick. He was followed by Hamlin, who needed to pit, Keselowski, Blaney and Larson.

Keselowski took second on lap 230. Blaney took third a lap later.

Harvick had a lead of 3.8 seconds.

There was a three-wide battle for sixth on lap 237; Truex came away with the spot.

Kyle Busch took fourth on lap 239. Hamlin had fallen to 10th.

With 25 laps to go, the lead was 3.7 seconds.

Kyle Busch took second on lap 247.  Blaney took third from Keselowski on lap 250. Hamlin pitted.  Larson took fourth from Keselowski on lap 252. Larson took third on lap 253. There were 12 cars on the lead lap.

The lead margin was down below 3 seconds with 13 laps to go.

With 10 to go the lead was 2.8 seconds.

It was 3.5 seconds with five to go.

In the final three laps the battle was between Blaney and Truex.

There was no drama up front as Harvick cruised to the win. There were nine cars on the lead lap.

Kyle Busch was second, Larson third, Truex fourth, Blaney fifth.

Keselowski was sixth, Logano seventh, Erik Jones eighth, Menard ninth and Aric Almirola 10th.

The western swing continues next week as NASCAR heads to the ISM Raceway in Phoenix for the TicketGuardian 500. Live coverage will be on Fox starting at 3:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming just after 3:30 p.m. ET.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.