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Jackpot for Kyle Larson at Las Vegas

Another week, another chaotic NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Race. Last week, coming out of Charlotte, the big headline was about AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger, who is a well-known Road Course Racer, pulled off the upset last weekend at the Charlotte Roval. In addition to Allmendinger winning last weekend, four drivers were eliminated from Playoff Contention. Those drivers were Ross Chastain, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Bubba Wallace. Coming into this week, it was a great opportunity for certain Playoff Drivers to clinch their way into the Championship Four at Las Vegas. That’s exactly what happened for a certain Playoff Driver.

Pure Domination from Larson:

On Saturday during qualifying, it was obvious that the battle for the win on Sunday was going to be between two experienced dirt races. Christopher Bell, who qualified on the pole, and Kyle Larson. Bell and Larson have had many battles in their dirt racing career. Most notably, in the Chili Bowl. From the start of the race on Sunday, the two dirt drivers showed that they wouldn’t back down from each other. Larson would take the lead from Bell on lap three, and Bell would eventually take the lead back on lap 29. Eventually, Larson would get the lead back through a green flag pit cycle and didn’t look back to win the first stage. Stage two would not be as dominant for Larson because, on lap 141, he made an unbelievable save coming out of turn two to keep his car off the wall.

After a few restarts during stage two, Larson would win the stage. The final stage was looking to be a battle between Bell and Ross Chastain. A late race caution with 58 laps to go brought out by Chase Briscoe allowed Larson’s pit crew to show what they do best. They would get Larson out first to the lead. After a few late race restarts and holding off a hard-charging Bell, Larson completed the dominating day in Vegas. This finish between Larson and Bell was the second-closest finish in Las Vegas Motor Speedway history. This win guarantees that Larson will have a spot in the Championship Four in three weeks. This is Larson’s 23rd career win, fourth of the season, and the second of his at Las Vegas.

A Clean Race for the Playoff Drivers:

Coming into Las Vegas, most people expected it to be a rough day for the Playoff Drivers. At Darlington, the first race of the Round of 16, at least 12 Playoff Drivers had issues. At Texas, the first race of the Round of 12, at least eight Playoff Drivers had issues that day. So, what was going to happen in Las Vegas? Surprisingly, not much happened to the Playoff Drivers on Sunday afternoon. The only noteworthy Playoff Driver to talk about aside from Kyle Larson, is Martin Truex Jr. Truex had a very up-and-down day on Sunday. With a solid first stage, things were looking pretty good to start the day for Truex. That was until Truex’s crew chief, James Small, made the call to stay out under caution to start the second stage.

It would’ve been a great strategy if another caution had come out quickly, but that didn’t happen. Truex began the second stage in the lead and eventually fell like a rock. When the second stage ended, Truex was in 20th position. A disastrous strategy by James Small. Eventually, Truex would claw his way back to ninth position, where he would finish. This has been the best finish for Truex since Watkins Glen, almost two months ago. Other than that, it was a good day to be a Playoff Driver with seven of the eight remaining finishing inside the Top-10. But next week comes a track where Truex hopes to get his mojo back.

What to Expect from Miami:

This coming weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the sunny beaches of South Florida. For years, Homestead has been a fan-favorite track as well as the last race of the season. More recently than ever, fans have been clamoring for Homestead to return as the season-ending Championship Race. At least for next season, that will not happen but hope remains for 2025. As for drivers to watch, once again, keep an eye on Kyle Larson. Last season, Larson put on an old-school clinic by leading 199 of the 267 laps and captured the win. It would not be a shocker if Larson ends up in victory lane at Homestead once again, especially to build momentum towards Phoenix.

Current Playoff Standings:

1st: Kyle Larson: Advanced to the Championship Four.

2nd: William Byron: +9 points above the cutline.

3rd: Martin Truex Jr: +2 points above the cutline.

4th: Denny Hamlin: +2 points above the cutline.

5th: Christopher Bell.: -2 points below the cutline.

6thTyler Reddick: -16 points below the cutline.

7th: Ryan Blaney: -17 points below the cutline.

8thChris Buescher: -23 points below the cutline.

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