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US NASCAR Las Vegas: Kyle Larson celebrates first victory since comeback

03:55  08 march  2021
03:55  08 march  2021 Source:   de.motorsport.com

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Almost a year after his suspension and in the fourth race since his return Kyle Larson is back in Victory Lane of a NASCAR race

1. Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hendrickcars.com © Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images 1. Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hendrickcars.com

Kyle Larson is back on the NASCAR stage for good! At the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Californian behind the wheel of the Hendrick Chevrolet with starting number 5 celebrated his first victory since he was rehabilitated by NASCAR as a result of its suspension from April 2020 .

After Larson showed great promise in the first three races of the season, he showed an absolutely convincing performance in Las Vegas on Sunday in the fourth race since his return and in the fourth race for Hendrick Motorsports.

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PHOTOS: Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas

With the most laps in the lead, Larson made his mark on the race and finally won confidently with a three-second lead. Before his involuntary break from NASCAR, which lasted almost a year, Larson last won in Dover in October 2019, at the time for Ganassi.

"That was just fun. I had a really good car. Many thanks to Mister H (Rick Hendrick; editor's note), Jeff Gordon and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for the incredible opportunity that gave me was ", so Larson's first words.

Not to forget the responsible crew chief: Cliff Daniels, who has worked with Jimmie Johnson without a win for the past year and a half. For Daniels it is now the first ever cup win. One of the first congratulators via Twitter: Jimmie Johnson.

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Larson scored his first win as a Hendrick pilot on the first outing with the blue and white paint scheme, which is modeled on the one with which Ricky Hendrick was once successful in the second and third NASCAR leagues. But the career of the young Hendrick came to an abrupt end. In the October 2004 plane crash in Martinsville, the son of team owner Rick Hendrick was one of the ten fatalities.

Tight Racing at the beginning - Larson dominance at the end

Behind Larson, Brad Keselowski (Penske-Ford) crossed the finish line in P2, followed by Kyle Busch (Gibbs-Toyota), Denny Hamlin (Gibbs-Toyota) and Ryan Blaney (Penske- Ford).

RESULTS: Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas

Before Larson made his mark in the second and especially the third racing segment, there has been close racing, as is usual in Las Vegas, since , the current aero package for intermediate ovals , was introduced .

Three wide for the lead! pic.twitter.com/944Ems85al

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- NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 7, 2021

Stage 1 and 2 as the first two racing segments went to Keselowski and Larson. In the first segment, Keselowski fought a thrilling duel with Chase Elliott (Hendrick-Chevrolet) for the lead, after both had fought for rounds with their respective teammates Joey Logano and Larson. The second segment then dominated Larson, the third also.

Elliott, who also fought for the lead in Stage 1, spun in the middle of the field, fighting for the top 10 at the beginning of the last race segment, but without really hitting it. Having dropped back to 27th position, Elliott drove his way up to the checkered flag up to P13.

HE SAVED IT. @chaseelliott | @LVMotorSpeedway pic.twitter.com/IyotYoPuUT

- NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 7, 2021

Logano, who was fighting for the lead in Stage 1, finished the race on P9. This meant that the winner of the Las Vegas spring race of the past two years still made it into the top 10. Kevin Harvick (Stewart / Haas-Ford) did not succeed.

Harvick started from P1 according to the calculated starting grid, but fell back with understeer on the first lap. Later there was also a puncture due to a contact in the crowd. In the end it was only P20 for Harvick, one lap behind.

The second and last stop in the shortened West Coast Trip 2021 is the one-mile oval in Phoenix (Arizona) next Sunday.

With images from NASCAR Media.

What drivers said after Phoenix Cup race .
Drivers discuss their race after Sunday's Cup event at Phoenix Raceway.Martin Truex Jr. — WINNER: “Just to have the speed that we had and to be good on the long run at the end, and to be able to take the lead on the restart against a couple guys who are good here each and every time. Look at the 22 (Joey Logano), the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), those guys are always good, and we’ve been searching. I’m really proud of James (Small, crew chief) and ‘Jazzy’ (Jeff Curtis, engineer) who came up with the setup here. Like I said, we will go home and figure out to be better, and tweak on it. This is just unbelievable.

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