Kevin Harvick absolutely dominated Sunday’s race in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. To be honest, it almost looked like some of Kyle Busch’s runaway, dominant wins he has had in the Xfinity Series. No matter how many cautions there were, and no matter who else was on the track, nobody was stopping Harvick from taking, and keeping the lead. Harvick would finish the win after leading a total of 214 of 267 laps. Speaking of Kyle Busch, by the way, he finished 2nd behind Harvick. But even though he showed a promising late-race charge, he would still finish 2.906 seconds behind the winner.
When I covered the Las Vegas race two years ago, it was an extremely windy, rain delayed day with dark clouds constantly hovering over the race track. I remember during driver introductions when Carl Edwards came past me in the truck bringing him to his car, his hat flew off and started rolling down pit road. I, of course, jumped into action and started sprinting down pit road after the hat, finally catching up to it, and retrieving it for Edwards.
I thought that there might be a replay of that event going into the weekend with windy conditions for the majority of the races, and the sun being blocked during certain times by patchy clouds. But, just before I made the decision to take or leave my sweatshirt in the media lounge, the sun shined the brightest it did all weekend, and the wind seamed to die down as I went outside for opening ceremonies without the warmth that I had relied on the first two races.
As the sun shined bright, the President of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chris Powell, took the stage. He thanked the fans for coming out, and then he took a few minutes to recognize the 58 people who were killed, and 850+ injured by the attack on October 1st, 2017. Powell took a moment to have the parents of one of the slain join him on stage for a special presentation from him, and the two Las Vegas-born drivers, Kurt and Kyle Busch. The two presented the parents with a specially designed Las Vegas helmet.
As for the race, again, Kevin Harvick won his 100th National Series win of his career. Kyle Busch was 2nd, Kyle Lawson ran 3rd, Martin Truex Jr came in 4th, and the Pole winner, Ryan Blaney, rounded out the top five. Some other notables in the field were Darrell Wallace finishing 21st after his 2nd place finish last week. Jimmie Johnson finished 12th after failing inspection three times and starting from the rear. And Chase Elliot and Kurt Busch finished 34th and 35th after Busch got loose coming out of turn 4 and ran into Chase, putting him into the wall.
To see great photo’s by Antonio Espinoza (Heroes Media Group, Phoenix Area Sports), click the link below:
On Saturday, the Xfinity Series was also in town. And if it wasn’t for a late caution, Kyle Larson’s victory would have looked just as dominant as Kevin Harvick’s did on Sunday. Larson would lead an amazing 142 laps of Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 to win his first Xfinity Series race in Las Vegas. Larson would pull away from the Rookie driver, Christopher Bell after the late caution. Bell would finish in 2nd place, giving him back-to-back strong finishes after finishing 3rd in Atlanta. Justin Allgaier would finish 3rd, Ryan Blaney would finish 4th, and Elliott Sadler would round out the top five.
A couple notable finishes: Kyle Busch would finish in 16th after battling his way back up from a penalty. The rules have changed this year in the pits. The fuel carrier can only do fuel. He’s not allowed to turn a wrench, or touch any tires, or anything. He’s only allowed to do fuel, and that’s it. During one of Kyle’s pit stops, the fuel carrier was returning to the wall with his can. He handed off the can over the wall, and when he turned around, he saw a tire rolling to him which was only a foot or two away. He bent over and touched the tire, which was a penalty and forced Kyle Busch to have to do a drive-through penalty on the next lap.
To me, this is kind of like the kid who loves football, and has always played football, jumping into a game of soccer. And when the ball comes his way, he puts his hand out to catch it or knock it down. In other words, this might take a moment for the adjustments to be made by the pit crews. I won’t be surprised if we see something like this again in the near future, perhaps in Phoenix this coming weekend.
Article by Jeff Demers
Heroes Media Group