Updated: Oct 17
LAS VEGAS - Kyle Larson put on a dominant performance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet as the Hendrick Motorsports driver held off a late-race challenge from Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell to win the South Point 400.
Larson led 133 of 267 laps in the race that kicked off the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 en route to sweeping the stages to earn 60 points and a guaranteed spot in the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway.
"What a job done by my team, too," Larson said. "Just a great race car. I almost gave it away there in one and two, getting sideways, hitting into the wall. Had to fight back there with our balance. They got it much closer there in the lead."
Bell's No. 20 Toyota led 61 laps and could have potentially run down Larson at the end of the race if the 267-event had one more lap. Despite a 52-point performance, Bell finds himself three points below the cutline entering the next race at Homestead.
While the JGR driver had a strong day in Sin City, not being able to get by Larson on the final lap could end up being the difference in competing for a Cup Series title or not in 2023.
"I mean, I don't know what else I could have done, so I don't know," Bell said. "That was my moment to make the Final Four. Didn't quite capture it. A great day, great day for sure to get the stage points, get a second-place finish out of it."
In a stunning reversal over 24 hours after the conclusion of the South Point 400, Ryan Blaney's disqualification was rescinded, restoring his sixth-place finish and all 39 points earned.
After a more thorough review of the inspection process at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, NASCAR officials determined there was an issue with the damper template used during post-race inspection at Las Vegas.
The No. 12 Ford was originally disqualified due to the left-front damper, which did not meet the overall specified length outlined in the NASCAR Rule Book.
Team Penske released the following statement, in response to NASCAR officials rescinding Blaney's penalty:
Following the penalty, Blaney was 56 points below the cutline. After winning at Talladega to clinch a spot in the Round of 8, Blaney likely needed to win at Homestead or Martinsville to earn a spot in the Championship 4.
Now, the No. 12 team is in a better position, only 17 points back.
Results from the 2023 South Point 400 from Las Vegas are listed below.
Other Race Facts
Regular Season Champion Martin Truex Jr. finished inside the top 15 for the first time in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in the seventh race. It was also his first top-15 finish since Watkins Glen.
In the last seven seasons, the driver who won the seventh race of the 10-race playoff format has gone on to win the Cup Series Championship four times. Those drivers were Jimmie Johnson (2016), Kyle Larson (2021) and Joey Logano (2018, 2022).
William Byron and his No. 24 team finished inside the top 10 for the 19th time in 2023, which is the most among all Cup Series drivers. Byron also won at Las Vegas earlier this season to give Hendrick Motorsports a sweep of both races in Sin City as Kyle Larson scored the victory in the South Point 400.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 28 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
MOST RECENT FINISH
Martin Truex Jr.
Week 29 of the GRID Ranking:
The next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 22. Coverage of the 4EVER 400 presented by Mobil 1 will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
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Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect the decision of NASCAR officials to rescind Ryan Blaney's post-race disqualification.