Kyle Larson defeats Keselowski, Hamlin and Busch in Vegas

Fired by Chip Ganassi, and picked up by Rick Hendrick, Kyle Larson (shown above) schooled the best NASCAR drivers to win the Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It was only his 4th start driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Larson made Rick Hendrick know he hired the right driver for the #5 Chevy .

Larson became the fourth different winner in four Cup Series races this season, leading a race-high 103 of the 267 laps in the Pennzoil 400.

Brad Keselowski finished second  3.156s back in the #2 Penske Ford.

2nd place Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, had nothing for the #5 of Kyle Larson (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch came home 3rd in the #18 Joe Gibbs Toyota while #11 Denny Hamlin and #12 Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5.

Keselowski and Larson divided the stage wins, with Larson securing his first stage victory since September 2019 at the second break.

Larson was exuberant speaking to the team on the radio while driving under the checkered flag as the race winner. He did celebratory burnouts on the backstretch and then again under the flag-stand on the frontstretch telling his Hendrick Motorsports team on the car radio, “What a car, what an opportunity. Thank you, guys.”

Just as Larson was finishing his live television interview, Keselowski ran across the infield grass to shake Larson’s hand and congratulate him on a powerful race performance.

“I’m just really happy for him, I know he’s been through a lot in the last year and he’s a good kid who I’ve known for a little while and has a good family and I’m just happy to see him bounce back,” the Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski said.

“He was really fast – had a lot of speed in all the lanes which was really impressive, usually you have to make a compromise, but they were really good. If Kyle Larson wasn’t here, we would have had a dominant day,” Keselowski added with a smile.

It was a highly competitive race from green to checkered flag with 27 lead changes among 12 different drivers. Five drivers led at least 20 laps. Keselowski won Stage 1 and Larson won Stage 2 – the first stage victories for both drivers this season.

In all, Larson led a race best six times, working his Chevrolet back to the front no matter the challenge, ultimately pacing the field for the last 30 laps en route to his seventh career win. It is his first on a 1.5-mile track after nine previous runner-up finishes on mile-and-a-half venues.

“It was such an awesome car,” Larson said. “Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody did a great job preparing this piece. It was so much fun to drive. I could go wherever I wanted to. I know we had a really good car once we would kind of get single-filed out; but just drafting early in the run was tough.

Kevin Harvick started from the Busch Pole, but lost the lead in Lap 1 and dropped further back after a fender rub and a flat tire near the Stage 1 midpoint. He battled the handling of his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and finished 20th, one lap down.

Defending series champion Chase Elliott led three times for 22 laps, but his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet sustained damage in a spin exiting Turn 2 with 99 laps remaining. Elliott recovered to place 13th.

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Two more Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, driven by Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell were sixth and seventh, followed by last week’s winner, Hendrick Motorsport’s William Byron. Team Penske driver Joey Logano and Richard Petty Motorsport’s driver Erik Jones rounded out the top 10.

Winner’s Quotes



“Yeah, thanks. It was such an awesome race car. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody did a great job preparing this piece. It was so much fun to drive. I could go wherever I wanted to. I knew we had a really good car once we would kind of get single-filed out; but just drafting early in the run was tough. But thank you so much Mr. Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for the amazing opportunity I’ve been gifted. Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, everybody at the engine shop, thank you so much for all the hard work This is definitely special.”

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


“It means a lot. This is Rick’s most special paint scheme, for obvious reasons. And it’s just an honor for me to be able to drive it in our first time out with this color scheme. Like I said, it’s blessed. Thanks to all the fans for coming out and to everybody at home watching on TV. That was some fun racing on the re-starts, so I hope everybody enjoyed it. I know I did. I had fun racing Brad (Keselowski) and Denny (Hamlin) and everybody and tried to give it away there coming to a green flag stop; but thankfully we were able to have a good enough car to hold them all off.”

Race Results

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Led Status
1 3 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 267 103 Running
2 10 2 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Ford 267 27 Running
3 14 18 Kyle Busch Ethel M Chocolates Toyota 267 0 Running
4 6 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota 267 47 Running
5 26 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Pennzoil Ford 267 1 Running
6 4 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Toyota 267 6 Running
7 16 20 Christopher Bell Craftsman Toyota 267 0 Running
8 2 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 267 25 Running
9 15 22 Joey Logano Pennzoil Ford 267 7 Running
10 29 43 Erik Jones Medallion Bank Chevrolet 267 0 Running
11 17 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Chevrolet 267 0 Running
12 12 3 Austin Dillon BetMGM Chevrolet 267 0 Running
13 8 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 267 22 Running
14 18 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 267 0 Running
15 19 37 * Ryan Preece Natural Light Naturdays Chevrolet 266 0 Running
16 30 21 Matt DiBenedetto Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 266 0 Running
17 5 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 266 9 Running
18 13 6 Ryan Newman Wyndham Rewards Ford 266 0 Running
19 7 1 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 266 0 Running
20 1 4 Kevin Harvick Mobil 1 Ford 266 0 Running
21 24 14 Chase Briscoe # Ford Performance Racing School Ford 266 0 Running
22 11 8 Tyler Reddick Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet 266 7 Running
23 21 42 Ross Chastain Clover Chevrolet 266 0 Running
24 27 38 Anthony Alfredo # Speedy Cash Ford 266 1 Running
25 20 41 Cole Custer Ford 266 0 Running
26 22 99 Daniel Suarez Camping World Chevrolet 265 12 Running
27 9 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 265 0 Running
28 23 23 Bubba Wallace Columbia Sportswear Toyota 262 0 Running
29 25 77 Justin Haley(i) Nations Guard Chevrolet 262 0 Running
30 34 78 BJ McLeod(i) Surface Sunscreen Ford 260 0 Running
31 31 53 Garrett Smithley(i) Trophy Tractor Chevrolet 259 0 Running
32 32 51 Cody Ware(i) Nurtec ODT Chevrolet 259 0 Running
33 36 0 Quin Houff 8 Ball Whiskey Chevrolet 256 0 Running
34 37 15 Joey Gase NV Donor Network Chevrolet 255 0 Running
35 35 52 Josh Bilicki Dollar Loan Center Ford 252 0 Running
36 38 66 * Timmy Hill Toyota 246 0 Running
37 33 7 Corey LaJoie Built Bar Chevrolet 188 0 Rear End
38 28 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Power Bites Ford 178 0 Accident


Average Speed of Race Winner:  139.615 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 52 Mins, 7 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.156 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 30 laps.

Lead Changes:  27 among 12 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick 0;W. Byron 1-19;C. Elliott 20-26;K. Larson 27-30;D. Hamlin 31-43;K. Larson 44-52;J. Logano 53;B. Keselowski 54-55;J. Logano 56-61;C. Elliott 62-71;B. Keselowski 72-73;C. Elliott 74-78;B. Keselowski 79-82;R. Blaney 83;D. Hamlin 84-87;B. Keselowski 88-106;K. Larson 107-123;W. Byron 124-129;T. Reddick 130-136;M. McDowell 137-145;A. Alfredo # 146;K. Larson 147-169;D. Hamlin 170-185;M. Truex Jr. 186-191;D. Hamlin 192-205;K. Larson 206-225;D. Suarez 226-237;K. Larson 238-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Larson 6 times for 103 laps; Denny Hamlin 4 times for 47 laps; Brad Keselowski 4 times for 27 laps; William Byron 2 times for 25 laps; Chase Elliott 3 times for 22 laps; Daniel Suarez 1 time for 12 laps; Michael McDowell 1 time for 9 laps; Tyler Reddick 1 time for 7 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 7 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 6 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap; Anthony Alfredo # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,9,12,11,48,20,24,21,22,19