NASCAR at Las Vegas results: Kyle Larson holds off late-charging Tyler Reddick in dominant Pennzoil 400 win

After a dominant performance all afternoon, Kyle Larson held off a hard-charging Tyler Reddick in the final laps to take the checkered flag at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, earning his first win of the 2024 season in dramatic fashion. Larson's victory is the 24th of his Cup career and his second-straight at Las Vegas following his triumph at this racetrack in the fall of last season.

Larson won both stages before winning the race, but the common denominator in all three of the race's pivotal moments proved to be Reddick. Just as he did at the end of Stages 1 and 2, Reddick began to take massive chunks out of Larson's lead in the final 10 laps, and was threatening to make the winning move before Larson successfully matched Reddick's line to put the trailing No. 45 at an aerodynamic disadvantage. 

Reddick lost his momentum coming to the white flag, giving Larson enough of a cushion to make one more clean lap back to the checkered flag.

Pennzoil 400 unofficial results

  1. #5 - Kyle Larson
  2. #45 - Tyler Reddick
  3. #12 - Ryan Blaney
  4. #1 - Ross Chastain
  5. #54 - Ty Gibbs
  6. #10 - Noah Gragson
  7. #19 - Martin Truex Jr.
  8. #11 - Denny Hamlin
  9. #22 - Joey Logano
  10. #24 - William Byron

"I knew Tyler was gonna be the guy to beat from the first stage. He was really fast there," Larson told Fox Sports. "I was hoping those guys were gonna get racing a little bit longer behind me because I felt like it was gonna time out to where he was running really hard and getting a tow to catch me at the end. Thankfully I was able to air block him a couple laps and get him tight.

"... All in all, such a great, great job by this HendrickCars Chevy team. Just their execution -- pit road, restarts, all that -- was great. Cool to get a win here at Vegas again. Back-to-back, swept all the stages again, can't ask for much more."

In the closing laps, Reddick had been using the top of the racetrack up against the wall to make up his ground on Larson, but his surge forward ultimately stalled out when Larson began to change his line to match Reddick's, taking the clean air that Reddick needed away and cancelling out the momentum that he had been building toward the race lead -- a place he may have reached earlier had it not been for miscues on pit road, which Reddick expressed frustration with.

"It's the name of the Next Gen racing game. You get the lead, you've got to hold onto it," Reddick told Fox Sports. "Kyle did a really good job there of pretty much taking away every option I had to close the gap. He seemed pretty good in the middle and I was obviously really good on the bottom, and he just never let me have it, right?

"I kept trying to run higher and higher, and he was kind of running right in the middle of the racetrack, pretty efficient to block both lanes. Every time I kind of got close -- I mean, we're running just wide open enough in Turns 1 and 2 that he could kind of defend pretty well."

With his 24th career victory, Larson now moves into sole possession of 36th on NASCAR's all-time wins list, moving out of a tiebreaker that he shared with Ricky Rudd. With his next win, Larson will move into a tie for 34th all-time with NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Weatherly and Jim Paschal.

Noah's Arc

Noah Gragson's 2023 season was a rookie year from Hell: not a single top 10, only two finishes inside the top 20 and six DNFs in 21 races before a midseason suspension brought his campaign to a somewhat merciful end. Evidently, though, experience at the Cup level and a new opportunity at Stewart-Haas Racing are both working in Gragson's favor.

After showing high-end speed in practice Saturday before a poor qualifying lap forced him to start 30th, Gragson moved his way through the field throughout the day and eventually found his way to the front late, challenging for a top-five finish before crossing the finish line in sixth. It marked one of the most complete performances of the Las Vegas native's Cup career, and it marks his second top 10 in three races to start the year after the former Xfinity Series star had none in all of 2023.

The one thing that prevented Gragson from a top-five finish was his old Xfinity Series rival in Ty Gibbs, who overcame both issues on pit road and a transmission failure -- Gibbs' car lost first gear -- to earn his first top five of the season.

It came from the trash heap

High winds were a recurring theme throughout the weekend in Las Vegas, particularly Saturday, which saw gusts approaching 70 mph for the Xfinity Series race. The winds died down somewhat by Sunday, but still blew just enough that they delivered an unwelcome passenger to William Byron's No. 24 Chevrolet.

After he ran up front early on, a massive trash bag blew onto the racetrack and festooned itself across the nose of Byron's car, blocking air flow to his engine and forcing him to pit road to get the trash bag removed before skyrocketing water temperatures ruined his day completely. Byron was able to eventually get back on the lead lap and completed his recovery by finishing 10th.

Byron wasn't best of class among drivers who recovered from mid-race issues, as that distinction belonged to Ross Chastain. After Chastain was busted for speeding on pit road for the third straight week, a two-tire call on his final pit stop allowed Chastain to get his track position back, and he would hang on to earn a season-best fourth-place finish despite being left frustrated with himself.

"Don't speed on pit road. It's unacceptable," Chastain told PRN. "Our car was strong enough to run with Kyle and Tyler, I just can't believe I did it three weeks in a row."

In recovering from his pit road penalty, Chastain fared far better than others like Kyle Busch and Austin Cindric, who went from running in the top 10 to finishing well outside the top 25. Bubba Wallace, meanwhile, had a bizarre issue doom his race when the lug nut of his left front tire ended up welded on and stuck, preventing his team from removing the tire. Wallace's team had to physically cut the lug nut off to remove the tire, leaving him many laps down in 35th despite a top-five qualifying effort.

Wallace's wheel problems at least allowed him to finish the race, something that couldn't be said for Chris Buescher. Buescher was the only car that failed to finish after his right front tire was not attached properly during an early two-tire stop to get him the lead, sending him hard into the Turn 1 wall and ending his day after only 27 laps. Per the NASCAR rulebook, Buescher's team will now lose two of its pit crew members to a two-week suspension for the on-track loss of an improperly-installed wheel.

Race Results Rundown

  • One week after prevailing in the third-closest finish in NASCAR history, Daniel Suarez spent a little more time at the front on strategy, first taking the lead by staying out under caution and then taking it again during green flag pit stops while running an alternate strategy. Suarez would just miss out on a top-10 finish in 11th, but he actually led more laps Sunday (15) than he did all of last week (9).
  • This weekend a year ago set the demise of Chase Elliott's 2023 season into motion, as he suffered a leg fracture in a snowboarding accident before the spring race at Las Vegas and missed significant time afterward. This year, Elliott ran inside the top 10 before finishing 12th, giving himself a modest baseline of three top-15 finishes to open the year.
  • Spire Motorsports exhibited significant growth on Sunday, as Corey LaJoie had a top-10 run with spells inside the top five going before fading in the second half of the race and eventually crashing with 33 laps to go. But shadowing him throughout the day was rookie teammate Carson Hocevar, who ran inside the top 15 consistently and recovered from a mid-race flat tire to finish 15th, the highest-finishing rookie on the day.
  • After a nightmarish start to the year that saw him get involved in two crashes in the opening laps two weeks in a row, Austin Dillon ended up faring far better at Las Vegas and showed top-10 pace, earning a seventh-place finish in Stage 2 before fading to a 16th-place finish later on. He ended up best in class of the Richard Childress Racing cars, as a pit road penalty for pitting outside of the box helped relegate Busch from running at the front to a 26th-place finish.
  • Derek Kraus' Cup Series debut went about as well as he and anyone around him could have asked for. Kraus only managed a 28th-place finish, but he completed all the laps and even took the lead for two laps during a cycle of green flag stops in the first of six scheduled Cup starts for the 22-year-old from Statford, Wisc.

Next race

The NASCAR Cup Series continues its West Coast Swing with a trip to Phoenix Raceway for the Shriners Children's 500 next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

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Kyle Larson getting in Tyler Reddick's wake coming to the white flag was the move he needed to make. Reddick lost what momentum he had gained on Larson, and that's enough to give Larson a comfortable lead for the final lap to pick up his first win of the 2024 season and the 24th of his Cup career!

Second Las Vegas win in a row for Larson, and his third overall since 2021.

1 - #5 - Kyle Larson
2 - #45 - Tyler Reddick
3 - #12 - Ryan Blaney
4 - #1 - Ross Chastain
5 - #54 - Ty Gibbs
6 - #10 - Noah Gragson
7 - #19 - Martin Truex Jr.
8 - #11 - Denny Hamlin
9 - #22 - Joey Logano
10 - #24 - William Byron

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Larson takes Reddick's line away, and now Reddick isn't able to close. Three tenths still the gap. White flag and Reddick is going to have one more shot at him!

 
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Three tenths of a second between Larson and Reddick. Reddick's caught Larson! Two laps to go when they get to the line!

 
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March 4, 2024, 12:00 AM
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Lapped traffic is a factor again, and look who it is! Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick's teammate, gets passed by Larson, and he tries to tuck in now behind Tyler Reddick to try and help him.

Doesn't look like it's going to work out, though. Larson and Reddick both pull away from him and resume their battle with now four laps to go.

 
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The gap between Larson and Reddick has stabilized for now. It's about half a second, and Reddick ends up losing out as the leaders pass the lapped car of J.J. Yeley. Reddick caught Yeley wrong off Turn 2 and couldn't get the angle he needed to get off Turn 2.

Reddick is trying to run the wall to run Larson back down. Seven laps to go.

 
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March 3, 2024, 11:58 PM
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Tyler Reddick is there! He ran a quarter of a second faster than Larson the last time by, and now it's a battle between Larson and Reddick as those two move around to try and find the line they need to run. 10 laps to go!

 
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Ross Chastain's car is starting to give up on older left side tires. He's under fire from Ryan Blaney for third, and Noah Gragson is all over those two as well. Gragson is in great position to either match or improve on his career-best finish, which was a fifth at Daytona in 2022.

Ty Gibbs has something to say about that, as his old rival from the Xfinity Series gets to Gragson's outside to take fifth spot. Meanwhile, Tyler Reddick has cut into Larson's lead and is now just six tenths back with 12 to go.

 
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20 laps to go. Kyle Larson has opened up a one second lead as Tyler Reddick has now taken second from Chastain. Best battle on track is for fifth, with Gragson having taken that spot and Ty Gibbs now seeking it.

Gibbs has had a fast car today, but he doesn't need another caution: His car has no first gear and cannot accelerate the way he needs it to on pit road.

 
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Larson makes his car as wide as he can to hold the lead, but Ross Chastain isn't going to just let him have it! Chastain hangs tough to Larson's outside and forces him to fight for the top spot before Larson finally clears him after battling for nearly two full laps.

Side-by-side battle for third now between Hamlin and Reddick. Ryan Blaney runs fifth, and Noah Gragson is in the picture as he battles Martin Truex Jr. for sixth! A terrific run for the Las Vegas native as he looks for his second top 10 early this season.

 
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March 3, 2024, 11:48 PM
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Fox broadcasts notes that many of the leaders still have one set of fresh tires remaining. In all likelihood, that'll be as many as the leaders need, but whether or not that set comes into play will depend on whether or not we get more cautions before the end of this one and when those cautions come.

Restart will come with 27 laps to go. Larson and Chastain up front.

 
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That caution came out with most of the field having had about 25 laps on the tires they got under green. Pretty much a no-brainer for everyone to come to pit road.

Quick stop by Kyle Larson lets him keep the lead off pit road, but there's a new second-place car as Ross Chastain takes two tires to gain 13 spots.

 
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CRASH IN TURN 2! Corey LaJoie has spun and backed into the outside wall to bring out the caution. A tough break for LaJoie, who had been having an excellent run for much of the first half of the day.

Looked like LaJoie got loosened up by Brad Keselowski, and LaJoie lost it from there.

 
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Kyle Larson easily breezed by Derek Kraus to take the lead again. He's cycled back to a two second lead over Tyler Reddick, as Reddick lost some time to Larson on pit road. They're both far ahead of Ryan Blaney in third, as Blaney runs more than eight seconds back of Larson.

Coming up on 35 laps to go.

 
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Michael McDowell gives up the ghost and comes to pit road. That'll hand the lead to Derek Kraus, who is quickly being run down by Kyle Larson but will get to say he led for a bit in his very first Cup start.

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