To win the Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Alex Bowman was in the right spot at the right moment, and crew chief Greg Ives made the correct call.
During the final caution of the day, the No. 48 team, along with teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron, were among three Hendrick Motorsports drivers to call for a two-tire pit stop. For the restart, Larson selected the outside of the front row. The inside was Bowman’s choice.
During the final two circuits, the two raced side by side, but Bowman took the lead entering Turn 3 to win his first race of 2022.
“This thing was so fast all day. Just never really had the track position we needed to show it,” Bowman told Fox. “Man, what a call by Greg Ives and the guys to take two there. Obviously, it paid off.”
For the second week in a row, the match was a clash between Hendrick team members. Larson and Chase Elliott were in a three-wide duel for the lead at Auto Club Speedway last week when Larson leapt high for a late block with 20 laps to go. Elliott collided with the wall before spinning laps later, forcing owner Rick Hendrick to speak up at this week’s competition meeting.
Bowman and Larson fought clean for the win in Las Vegas this week, so there were no dramatics.
“Racing Kyle is always fun,” Bowman said. “Got to race him for a couple wins. We’ve always raced each other super clean and super respectfully.”
Erik Jones smashed into the outside wall at the exit of Turn 4 on Lap 266 and received the final yellow. Jones decided to go down the frontstretch apron, but turned back across traffic, almost colliding with Bubba Wallace. Wallace turned to avoid a collision and collided with the inside tyre barrier.
After outdueling his Joe Gibbs Racing squad member Martin Truex Jr. for a number of laps, Kyle Busch was leading at the time of the caution. On the last stop, Busch was the first car off pit road with four tyres, but he finished fourth.
Busch overcame a slew of problems this weekend, the first of which was a practise crash that necessitated the team to use a second car. According to Fox, that car was intended to be a parts car and was unprepared to race before to Busch’s incident. Despite an early-race spin and shifter troubles, the team converted it into a car that led 49 laps.
“True testament to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said. “Really appreciate the (No.) 18 guys, my guys, but also the 11, 19 and 20, all of them for coming over and pitching in. Everybody had a hand in making us go today so I really appreciate that.”
Ross Chastain, Busch, and William Byron finished behind Bowman and Larson in the top five. Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr., Elliott, and pole-sitter Christopher Bell rounded out the top ten.
Sunday’s 12 cautions tied for the second-most in track history with the 2018 playoff race in Las Vegas.
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Alex Bowman, Daytona 500, Grand Prix, IndyCar, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Nascar, Nascar Cup Series