2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson had a good chance of winning the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 driver was going head-to-head for the win with his teammate William Byron. While Byron was very dominant in the race, winning both stages and leading 176 laps on his way to victory, Larson was giving Byron a run for the money.
The No. 5 driver led 62 laps and looked like he would win until the caution due to Aric Almirola’s spin.
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However, a better pit stop strategy meant that Byron would get his first win of the season.
Speaking about this situation in the race, Larson said:
“It’s just part of Cup racing. It seems like you count the laps down lap by lap, and then, sure enough, the yellow lights come on. You just have to get over that and try to execute a good pit stop, and I thought I did a really good job getting to my sign and getting to the commitment line,” said Larson.
It was nearly his day. pic.twitter.com/v7BPJbCRU0
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 5, 2023
“I had a gap to William behind me; their pit crew must have done a really good job and got him out in front of us, and that gave up the front row. I knew I was in trouble with the No. 19 (Truex) staying out. I felt like William was going to get by him. It’s a bummer that we didn’t end up the winner, but all in all, William probably had a little better car than I had today, and their pit crew executed when they needed to at the end.”
While he praised Byron’s team, he also said that he was proud of his team even though it was a “bummer” to have come so close to winning. The 2021 champion finished second in the race and will have to wait longer to get his first win of the 2023 Cup Series season.