William Byron Wins Las Vegas, Continues Chevrolet Dominance
William Byron led 175 laps and won both stages of today's NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas, but he needed a little bit of extra luck to secure the race win. Byron fell out of the lead in the final cycle of stops, ceding the spot to teammate Kyle Larson and trailing by two seconds with ten laps to go. While Byron may have been able to catch his teammate, he was running out of time and needed a caution for any realistic shot at a win. That caution came just in time, when Aric Almirola hit the outside wall in the closing laps.
Byron beat Larson out of the pit lane, but both started behind Martin Truex Jr. as he chose to stay out on old tires and take a last-gasp shot at winning the race. Byron and Larson both got their lane choices after Truex picked the inside; while Byron chose the outside, Larson chose to start behind Truex inside. That destroyed any opportunity of the pair working together, and Byron instead cleared Truex on the first corner after the restart. He never looked back, leading an eventual 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports ahead of Larson and teammate Alex Bowman.
The win effectively locks Byron into the Playoff, but it also marks an interesting landmark for Chevrolet. The manufacturer becomes the first since 2010 to win all three of the first rounds of a season, a mark that has not been seen for so long that the most recent streak was actually broken up by a Dodge win.
Byron joins Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch as race winners on the season. The Cup Series continues with a race at Phoenix, the lone race at the track before it hosts the season finale in November, next weekend.
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