NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR takeaways: William Byron, Hendrick dominate in Las Vegas; Joey Logano crashes out

Updated Mar. 5, 2023 8:42 p.m. EST

LAS VEGAS – William Byron doesn't normally text team owner Rick Hendrick during a race weekend about how his car is performing.

But considering the weekend that Hendrick had as driver Chase Elliott broke his left leg snowboarding Friday, Byron figured that Hendrick could use some good news that Byron felt he had a strong car Saturday for the race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

"I don't normally text him unless he texts me or unless we're talking about other things outside of racing," Byron said. "I just felt confident and just felt like we had a shot to win."

Byron kept the good news coming as he captured the Pennzoil 400 victory.

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After a stumble on a pit stop, Byron was a couple seconds behind his Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson with a few laps remaining when a caution came out for Aric Almirola, sending the race into overtime and crew chiefs into strategy decisions.

Only one driver — Martin Truex Jr. — stayed out, and Byron this time beat Larson off pit road. He easily passed Truex and sped away from the field over the final two laps.

Three takeaways from Las Vegas as Byron snapped a 30-race winless streak:

Byron Leads Strong HMS Effort

Byron felt it was important for the organization to win the race, as Hendrick watched with his injured driver Elliott, who had three hours of surgery on his tibia Friday night and hoped to start rehab Monday. Elliott is out for several weeks.

"It just shows the strength that our teams have and the ability to come together in tough situations," Byron said. "I speak for everyone in the fact that we miss Chase out here. He's a big contributor to feedback and our debriefs and he's a great racecar driver. Has a lot to offer there.

"There was a void there, but I think we were able to fill it with just kind of coming together as a team."

Larson ended up second and just had to wonder what could have been if the late caution didn't come out.

"Part of you is not surprised, especially me," Larson said about the caution. "I feel like I would have eight or 10 more Cup wins if it weren't for cautions the last five laps. I don't remember many of those working out in my favor."

Byron speeds to Vegas victory

William Byron gave high praise to his pit crew after he captured his first win of the season in Las Vegas.

Berry Has Fun

Josh Berry said he had fun but considering this was his third Cup race overall and his first race in the Next Gen car, it wasn't much of a surprise he ended up 29th.

He fell a lap down early and then had a possible throttle issue over the second half of the race.

"It was a lot of fun," Berry said. "I learned a lot, especially the first two stages. I think we definitely saw some times when we were running some pretty good lap times.

"I just struggled in dirty air [in traffic], just knowing where to put the car. There was a lot of learning to be done, but all in all, it was still a pretty good time."

HMS President Jeff Andrews said the team will make a decision on a driver Monday morning for the upcoming race at Phoenix. 

Berry on Vegas experience

Josh Berry said he enjoyed his time filling in for Chase Elliott and says he's available if the team needs him next week.

Logano Leaves Frustrated

Joey Logano was on the pole but he left frustrated as he lacked speed and couldn't hang in the top 10. He wrecked trying to use the high groove on Lap 183 and was pinched into the wall battling Brad Keselowski.

"We have to go back to the drawing board for when we come back here," Logano said. 

Logano seemed irked about the wreck but knew he was trying to make something happen. When asked if Keselowski pinched him into the wall, Logano was matter-of-fact: 

"Yeah — it's racing," Logano said. "I'm sure he didn't mean to do it. It is what it is. We got fenced."

Logano crashes out

Joey Logano talked about getting squeezed into the wall by Brad Keselowski in Las Vegas.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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