NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas results: Alex Bowman holds off Kyle Larson for win after late-race OT restart

NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas results: Alex Bowman holds off Kyle Larson for win after late-race OT restart

If nothing is ventured, nothing is gained, especially not in a town that rewards risk like Las Vegas. And when the opportunity presented itself, Alex Bowman was willing to take a swing that earned him  a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his first victory of the 2022 season.

After taking two tires on his final pitstop, Bowman prevailed in a dramatic battle with Kyle Larson on an overtime restart, clearing his Hendrick Motorsports teammate in the final corner to win the Pennzoil 400 in unlikely fashion. Bowman’s win is the seventh of his Cup career.

In the final laps, Bowman had been racing Ross Chastain for fourth as Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. battled for the win at the front. But with three laps to go, a hard crash for Erik Jones set up an overtime restart, where Larson, Bowman, and William Byron all took two tires to set up the fight to the finish.

Pennzoil 400 unofficial results

1 – #48 – Alex Bowman
2 – #5 – Kyle Larson
3 – #1 – Ross Chastain
4 – #18 – Kyle Busch
5 – #24 – William Byron
6 – #10 – Aric Almirola
7 – #8 – Tyler Reddick
8 – #19 – Martin Truex Jr.
9 – #9 – Chase Elliott
10 – #20 – Christopher Bell

“This thing was so fast all day, just never really had the track position we needed to show it. But man, what a call by Greg Ives and the guys to take two there. Obviously it paid off,” Bowman told Fox Sports. “Racing Kyle’s always fun. Got to race him for a couple wins, and we’ve always raced each other super clean and super respectfully.

“Just can’t say enough about these guys. It’s been a pretty awful start to the year, so to come out here and get a win on a last restart deal like that is pretty special.”

Bowman’s victory quickly reverses what had been a tough start to the 2022 season, as he had entered Sunday’s race ranked 25th in the Cup Series points standings. Bowman had rough outings at Daytona and Fontana, finishing 24th and 25th respectively.

Here are some more takeaways from the third race of the season.

Busch battles back

Early in practice on Saturday, Kyle Busch pounded the Turn 3 wall after cutting down a left rear tire, forcing him and his team to convert a “parts” car brought out to the west coast to race-ready condition for Sunday. It turned out to be quite the backup. After starting at the rear of the field, Busch drove all the way up to the front and led 49 laps, and he looked to have gotten the best of a late-race battle with Martin Truex for the win before the final caution.

It was a day that displayed the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing as an organization, and also illustrated the efficiencies of the Next Gen car and its common parts: As Busch pointed out while speaking to reporters post-race.

“It was fine. They’re all the same. They’re bought at Wal-Mart,” Busch told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports.

Torrid Trackhouse

After Daniel Suarez came laps away from picking up the organization’s first-ever win in Fontana last week, Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks made a point that he wants his team to shed an underdog mentality and regard themselves as contenders in their second season. Trackhouse now has added reason to buy what Marks is selling, as Sunday marked a career day for Ross Chastain.

In just his third race with Trackhouse, Chastain led a race-high 83 laps and won Stage 2 before coming home third at the finish. Although Chastain came up just short of his first Cup win, he beamed in his post-race interview about how his run was a “dream come true.”

“This is what all the work is for, right? This is why we train and try to build our whole lives and careers once we realize we can race at this level is to have race cars like that,” Chastain told Fox Sports. “I couldn’t be more proud of Trackhouse.”

While Chastain carried the banner for Trackhouse at the front, Daniel Suarez was unable to follow up on his strong run at Fontana. Suarez was an innocent bystander to a sideways Chase Briscoe on Lap 92, who ended up sending Suarez into the outside wall and out of the race in 37th.

Take Caution

After last week’s race at Auto Club Speedway saw a total of 12 cautions, Las Vegas offered more of the same. As drivers continue to feel out the Next Gen car and be much more on-edge than they were in the previous generation of Cup car, the yellow flag flew a total of 12 times yet again on Sunday, marking the most cautions in a race at Las Vegas since the fall of 2018.

Among the drivers who were involved in accidents included Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez, Justin Haley, Tyler Reddick, and polesitter Christopher Bell. While quite a few cars were set sideways by the bumps in Turn 1, Turn 4 ended up being calamity corner on the day, with several accidents — including Jones’ big hit to send the race to overtime — occurring in that section of the track.

There have now been 31 total cautions through three races in 2022, which is now tied with 2011 for the most cautions in three races to open a season. By comparison, there were 21 combined cautions through the first three races of 2021.

Odds and Ends

  • After starting from the pole, Christopher Bell led the opening 32 laps — tying the mark for the most laps he’s led in a Cup race — before a spin later in the race cost him laps after his tires blew out. Despite that, Bell was able to fight back to pick up a 10th-place finish
  • Aric Almirola has quickly become Mr. Consistency, as he is the only driver to score a Top 10 finish in all three races this season. Almirola finished sixth for the second week in a row, which has become his floor after a fifth-place run in the Daytona 500.
  • Corey LaJoie might want to start stacking currency more valuable than pennies, and not just because of inflation: LaJoie came home in 15th, which marks his second Top 15 of this young season — the first time that’s happened in his Cup career.
  • Harrison Burton was the highest-finishing rookie in 16th, and most importantly was running at the finish for the first time in a Cup race after crashing out at Daytona and Fontana.
  • Justin Haley has had some sort of problem in each race this season (including the Busch Light Clash), and his troubles at Las Vegas included a spin on Lap 43 after contact with Austin Dillon. But today, Haley was able to battle back to earn a respectable 17th-place run.
  • Very quietly, Ty Dillon has had a solid start to his return to full-time Cup racing. With a 20th place finish today, the younger of the Dillon brothers has scored a Top 20 in every race this season.

Next Race

The west coast swing concludes with the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway, which will be next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox.