In Las Vegas, the losers always outweigh the winners. Always. That’s just the way it is.
The same is true in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, where Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 38 other drivers didn’t.
Breaking it down by teams who had at least one car finish in the top 25, here are this weekend’s winners and losers from Sin City.
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Loser: Stewart-Haas Racing
Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield. At Las Vegas, SHR was the bug. Kevin Harvick finished 39th, Danica Patrick 36th, Kurt Busch 30th and Clint Bowyer 10th. This team certainly will rebound, but for an elite organization, Vegas was brutal.
Winner: Leavine Family Racing
Michael McDowell’s 18th-place finish was his best result ever at Las Vegas. Any time a single-car team finishes in the top half of the field, it’s a win.
Loser: Richard Childress Racing
When you have a three-car team and your drivers finish 17th (Ryan Newman), 19th (Paul Menard) and 25th (Austin Dillon), your cars didn’t have enough speed in them.
Winner: Wood Brothers Racing
Another good race for Ryan Blaney, who qualified third in the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford and finished seventh. One of the season’s pleasant early season surprises.
Loser: JTG Daugherty Racing
Teammates Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger finished 23rd and 24th, respectively. Not awful, certainly, but not what they wanted, either.
Winner: Hendrick Motorsports
This wasn’t a big win for NASCAR’s best team, but it was a win nonetheless. All four Hendrick cars finished 16th or better, with Chase Elliott (third), Jimmie Johnson (11th), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (16th) all posting their respective best finishes of the year. Kasey Kahne posted another strong finish of 12th. Not a great day, but a good one.
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Winner and Loser: Roush Fenway Racing
On one hand, Trevor Bayne had an OK outing, finishing 13th, which left him 11th in points. On the other had, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lost a rear axle and ended up 33rd.
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Winner: Chip Ganassi Racing
For the second week in a row, Kyle Larson was the race runner-up, with teammate Jamie McMurray a solid eighth. Larson is now second in points and McMurray 10th. It’s an excellent start to the season for the Ganassi gang.
Loser: Germain Racing
Like Richard Childress Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing, the team has a technical alliance with, Germain didn’t have much speed in its car, which was reflected in Ty Dillon’s 21st-place finish. Still, not a horrible day.
Loser: Joe Gibbs Racing
The JGR Toyotas looked better than they did at Atlanta — a lot better, and Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Matt Kenseth (ninth) finished in the top 10. But the team got smoked by Furniture Row in very similar equipment. And after three points races, the top JGR driver is Matt Kenseth in 13th place. After dominating the last two seasons, that has to be concerning.
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Winner: Furniture Row Racing
Obviously, Martin Truex Jr.’s win was big for the driver, the team and for Toyota. But there was more to it than that. Truex had more speed than the JGR Toyotas and Furniture Row’s second car finished 15th after a solid run for rookie Erik Jones.