Cup Series Las Vegas Race Review


   

    The hometown kid cashes in on the correct strategy call. In a race dominated by Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman; Kurt Busch lucks into the race winning strategy. The race featured several good battles throughout the field, but the lead was hogged by Denny Hamlin. Hamlin and Elliott were the only two able to drive off from the field. 

    Stage 1, after the competition caution the stage was dominated by Denny Hamlin. The competition caution reset the field a little bit, but as Hamlin pulled away it was a battle for second between Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott. The hard racing between those three was the most entertaining part of stage 1. The early restarts highlighted the aggressiveness necessary to get up front in this aero package. 

    Stage 2, was dominated by Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin, but the man with the final word, for the stage, was Chase Elliott. Alex Bowman fought up to the top three. At the start of stage 2 Hamlin made an aggressive move on Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano taking the lead. As Hamlin dove under the two entering turn 3 Kyle Busch got into Joey Logano, and Logano had a tire rub regulating him a lap down for the majority of the rest of the race. A caution free stage watching Elliott, and Hamlin battle it out and sort through the traffic at the end was fun to see. 

    As darkness was starting to settle on the track at the start of Stage 3 the question became "Who was best prepared for the track change?" Hamlin, Elliott, and Bowman controlled this race. After a mid stage debris caution the majority of the field was 5-10 laps short on fuel. Around 35 to go the leaders started the green flag pit stop cycle, but with 30 to go there was a caution that flipped the field. 10 guys lucked into the correct strategy lead by Kurt Busch and Matt DiBenedetto. Most of the leaders took the wave around, but were stuck in the traffic of those who had fresher tires. A caution with roughly 15 to go split the lead lap cars with the bottom half gambling on fresh tires. After sorting through the traffic a caution that sent the race to overtime setup a battle between Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin, and Alex Bowman. Kurt Busch prevailed after having a fantastic restart to win.

    Kurt Busch's win drastically shook up the playoff picture. Busch came into the race 12th of the 12 playoff drivers. Austin Dillon's late race mechanical issue regulated him to a 32nd place finish, 32 points behind 8th place Alex Bowman. Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch head to Talladega outside looking in on the playoff picture.