It was a wild race that featured a surprise ending both on the track and off. Martin Truex Jr. scored the win, and Kyle Busch ended up on the ground. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
From his first Las Vegas pole, Brad Keselowski led the field to the green on the inside. Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
Truex was beside him until turn 3 when Keselowski was able to power by and take a clear lead. Larson had third, Blaney fourth, Matt Kenseth fifth.
Keselowski had caught the rear of the field by lap 12, his lead hovered around a half a second.; Joey Logano had moved into fifth. The lead was up to 1.4 seconds at lap 18 just as the first caution came out when Corey LaJoie appeared to lose an engine and hit the wall between turns 1 and 2.
The leaders all pitted. Truex was out first, followed by Keselowski, Logano, Blaney and Kyle Busch.
Green came back out on lap 25.
Truex led as behind them Kevin Harvick had worked his way from 19th and dove inside to take fifth. Up front by the end of the lap, Keselowski had charged back on the outside and retook the lead.
By lap 37, Harvick had dropped to sixth; Blaney was fourth, Kyle Busch fifth.
By lap 50 the lead was 15 seconds.
On lap 69 Harvick in sixth, lost a right front tire on the frontstretch and hit the wall hard.
The leaders all pitted except Logano who stayed out with the end of the stage nearing. Jamie McMurray was out of the pits first with two tires; Truex, Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Larson followed all had taken 4 tires.
Logano led the field to the restart on lap 75 on the outside. On older tires, Logano was shuffled back and Truex shot up the center to take the lead; McMurray and Larson followed. Kyle Busch was looking for third a lap later, but Blaney charged to the inside. Larson was looking for second and got it on lap 78. Logano ended up in 18th place. Blaney and Keselowski passed McMurray as Stage 1 ended.
The top 10 at the end of Stage 1: Truex, Larson, Blaney, Keselowski, Chase Elliott, McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It was a mix of pit strategies as the leader stayed out and several pitted. When the stops were over; Truex led, Larson was second followed by Keselowski, Elliott and Earnhardt. Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon were the rest of the top 10. The first driver with new tires was Blaney in 17th.
Green came out on lap 88. Truex held off Larson, Keselowski, Elliott and Earnhardt.
Keselowski took second from Larson on lap 98. Blaney had worked his way to 10th.
Kyle Busch took fifth on lap 112. The lead for Truex was just over 3 seconds.
Blaney pitted on lap 124. Truex pitted from the lead two laps later. Many of those behind him followed led by Keselowski and Elliott. Kyle Busch also pitted but was penalized for speeding.
After the cycle of stops, Truex was back in the lead.
The top five at lap 137: Truex, Elliott, Keselowski, Larson and Johnson.
Derricke Cope when for a solo spin exiting turn 2 on lap 152 and the third caution of the day came out. Kyle Busch got the free pass.
The leaders all pitted. Johnson and Kurt Busch however stayed out. Truex was first off pit road followed by Keselowski, Elliott, Larson and Logano.
Green came out on lap 176.
Truex was able to power up the middle and take the lead as Johnson and Kurt Busch fell back. Keselowski took second, Larson third. Logano was looking for fourth as Stage 2 ended. Truex won the stage as Elliott held off Logano.
The top 10 in Stage 2: Truex, Keselowski, Larson, Elliott, Logano, Blaney, Earnhardt, McMurray, Ryan Newman and Johnson.
During the stops, the top five stayed out; behind pitted.
There were 24 cars on the lead laps when the green came back out on lap 167. Truex shot to the lead, Keselowski fell into second, Elliott third close behind, Logano was fourth while Kyle Busch has rallied from his speeding penalty and was in fifth.
The leaders began to pit with 56 to go.
Johnson was the last car on the lead lap and stayed out hoping for a caution. Truex was second 20 seconds back, Elliott, Keselowski, and Kyle Busch were the top five.
Johnson pitted on lap 227 handing the lead back to Truex.
Keselowski took second on lap 233.
As laps were winding down, Keselowski was slowly catching leader Truex. On lap 243 Keselowski caught and easily passed Truex for the lead.
Danica Patrick lost and engine on lap 252 and the fourth caution of the day came out.
The leaders all pitted. Keselowski came out first followed by Truex, Elliott, Kyle Busch and Blaney.
The restart came with 9 laps to go and 23 cars on the lead lap. Keselowski was on the outside, Truex on the inside. Keselowski had the lead by Turn 3. Behind Larson and Kyle Busch were side by side for third. Elliott lurked close behind. A lap later Larson had third, and Elliott fourth; Busch fought back and retook the spot. Elliott fell into fifth. Up front Keselowski was stretching out his lead.
Logano took fifth from Elliott with 3 to go.
With 2 laps to go, Keselowski slowed and soon Truex was sliding past. With one to go, Truex was leading, Keselowski continued to slow. On the final lap Truex had the win, Kyle Busch made contact with Logano, and spun. As Truex crossed the line, Busch slid through the pits and finished 22nd. Larson was second, Elliott third, Logano fourth and Keselowski held on for fifth.
After the race Busch confronted Logano on pit road. There was a brief altercation involving Busch and a crewmember as Logano was pulled away. Busch stormed off with blood on his forehead.
Denny Hamlin was sixth, Blaney seventh, McMurray eighth with Kenseth and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10.
NASCAR continues it’s Western swing as it heads to Phoenix next Sunday for the Camping World 500.
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