This year's spring Las Vegas race was not near as exciting as last year's Pennzoil 400. This was mainly due to the dominance of Chevy, and more specifically Hendrick. This and only one caution that wasn't a stage break - this being Joey Logano's spin at the beginning of the final stage. However, a wild overtime finish saved what was otherwise a lackluster day.
Hendrick Is King
Hendrick had the most speed across the board at every point of the race. Other than Hamlin leading for a bit after pitting for only two tires, a Hendrick driver led almost every other lap. William Byron won both stages and ultimately the race - although with 6 laps to go it looked like his teammate, Kyle Larson, was going to go to victory lane with a 2-3 second cushion behind him. Byron led 175 laps, his most in a single race. Alex Bowman started the day slow, but ran in the top 5 most of the second half of the day. He has now finished in the top 10 in the first three races of 2023. Hendrick finished 1-2-3 today, getting the most of their ridiculous race pace.
Ford Is Nowhere
Ford had another disappointing showing, with only two drivers in the top 10. Austin Cindric ended his day with an amazing 6th place finish after being outside of the top 15 most of the day due to an electric final restart. Kevin Harvick was the other Ford in the top 10. SHR overall was pretty slow once again, and Chase Briscoe endured another dreadful race cruising around multiple laps down all day. He came home in 28th. Ford is going to have to make some significant gains if they want to catch the dominant Chevys, or even give them a run for their money.
RCR Doesn't Show The Same Speed
It would have been hard for RCR to show the same speed as they did in Auto Club, especially on Kyle Busch's side of the garage after winning at Fontana. However, Busch ran between 10th and 15th most of the day, and ended 14th. Austin Dillon finished in 27th on pure speed and was a complete non-factor. This was just one race, so we'll have to see which version of RCR we're going to get over the course of the season - the Fontana RCR or the Las Vegas RCR.
23/XI Finally Recovers
23/XI may have won the award for the coldest start for a team in NASCAR history, not reaching the finish in the first two races with either driver. Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace were two of only 5 drivers who hadn't reached the end of the race a single time before Las Vegas, with Tyler Reddick being dead last in points. Bubba Wallace out-paced Reddick all day and was able to take advantage of the GWC restart to capture a top-5 finish. Reddick tried his hardest to DNF as he made contact with the wall a couple of times, and was sideways every time he was on TV. Tyler finished 15th as the 5th highest placed Toyota. This was better than his day yesterday, as Reddick missed practice and qualifying.
Trackhouse Has A Quite Day
Trackhouse has been the early favorite for the fastest team overall in the early stages of the season, however that title obviously now belongs to Hendrick. Suarez made a lot of good moves to crack the top 5 briefly in middle of the race, but overall more quite than most probably expected. Suarez outpaced his teammate most of today, and rallied to a 10th place finish. Chastain finished a couple places behind in 12th.