Bowman snags Las Vegas win in dramatic two-lap shootout

A late caution provided a prime opportunity for Hendrick Motorsports and Alex Bowman cashed it in, taking the NASCAR Cup Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were battling back-and-forth for the win when a caution for a wreck with two laps remaining sent the race into overtime.

All the lead-lap cars pit but three Hendrick Motorsports drivers – Kyle Larson, Bowman and William Byron – took only two tires and lined up in the top three spots on the restart. Busch, who restarted fourth, was the first car on four new tires.

Bowman and Larson raced side-by-side on the first lap overtime, essentially holding up the field behind them, and Bowman finally cleared Larson for the lead on the last lap and held on for the win by 0.178 seconds.

The win is the first for Bowman in the 2022 season and second consecutive for Hendrick Motorsports (Larson won last weekend at Fontana, Calif.). It’s the seventh career win for Bowman, 28.

“This thing was so fast all day. Never had the track position we needed to show it,” Bowman said. “Man, what a call by Greg Ives (crew chief) and the guys to take two (tires) there (on the last stop). Obviously, it paid off.

“Racing Kyle (Larson) is always fun. Got to race him for a couple wins. We’ve always raced each other super clean and super respectfully.

“I just can’t say enough about these guys. It’s been a pretty awful start to the year, so to come out here and get a win on a last restart deal is pretty special.”

Ross Chastain ended up third, Kyle Busch fourth and Byron rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick, Truex, Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell.

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Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Chastain the first off pit road.

When the race returned to green on Lap 175, Chastain was followed by Kyle Busch, Larson, Elliott and Truex.

With 70 laps remaining, Chastain remained the leader with a nearly 1-second advantage over Kyle Busch. Busch, however, reported to his team that he was feeling a worsening vibration in his No. 18 Toyota.

On Lap 212, Austin Dillon was the first to make a green-flag pit stop to take new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race.

Chastain and several others pit on Lap 218 for their final stop. Larson was penalized for speeding during his stop.

Denny Hamlin spun coming off pit road and shifted the wrong way which caused his No. 11 Toyota to end up stalling off Turn 2 and brought out the 11th caution of the race. Hamlin broke all the gears in his transmission and his race was over.

“We broke the transaxle. The car won’t go, we don’t have any gears,” Hamlin said. “Just unfortunate, our car was really, really fast. The team did a phenomenal job, just had a couple mistakes that bit us.”

Once the race resumed on Lap 227, Kyle Busch cycled to the lead followed by Chastain, Truex, Bowman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

With 25 laps remaining, Busch had opened up a 1.1-second lead over Truex as Chastain ran third, Bowman fourth and Byron fifth.

With 20 to go, Truex had got to Busch’s rear bumper and was attempting to line up a pass for the lead.

With five to go, Busch continued to thwart Truex’s repeated attempts for a pass for the lead and remained out front.

On Lap 265, Erik Jones hit the wall hard and spun down the frontstretch. Bubba Wallace clipped Jones’ car and hit the inside wall.

 

All of the lead-lap cars pit with Larson the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire pit stop. On the restart to the two-lap overtime, Larson led the way followed by Bowman, Byron, Kyle Busch and Chastain.

Stage 2

Chastain got around Larson with seven laps remaining and held off Elliott for the Stage 2 win, his first career stage victory in the Cup Series.

Larson ended up third, Byron fourth and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most of the lead-lap cars all pit with Brad Keselowski the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire pit stop.

Michael McDowell elected to stay on the track and inherited the lead and led the way when the race restarted on Lap 88. He was followed by Keselowski, Hamlin, Elliott and Bowman.

Keselowski quickly got around McDowell after the restart to grab the lead as Hamlin moved into second.

Hamlin, who took four new tires on his stop, powered to the lead on Lap 91.

Daniel Suarez spun and hit the wall after contact with Chase Briscoe on Lap 93 to bring out the sixth caution of the race. A handful of cars elected to pit during the caution.

 

“I do know (Briscoe) clipped me in the right rear. The reason why, I don’t know,” Suarez said. “I don’t know what to say. He got loose and he clipped me. He didn’t do it intentionally, but it was unfortunate.”

On the restart on Lap 98, Hamlin led the way followed by Bowman, Chastain, Keselowski and Byron.

Keselowski spun off Turn 4 and Ryan Blaney, who was running right behind him, plowed into Keselowski on Lap 104, bringing an early end to Blaney’s race.

Most of the lead-lap cars pit but Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon elected to stay out. Chase Briscoe was the first off pit road and took fuel-only.

When the race returned to green on Lap 110, Kyle Busch was followed by Austin Dillon, Briscoe, Almirola and Hamlin.

Kyle Busch lasted three laps out front on older tires before Chastain ran him down to take the lead for the first time in the race.

On Lap 135, Briscoe spun in front of Austin Cindric, who slowed for the incident but was hit from behind by Almirola and sent Cindric’s No. 2 Ford into the wall. Harrison Burton also got caught up in the incident.

All the lead-lap cars pit with Larson the first off pit road. Hamlin had a long stop as his air hose got caught under his right-front tire and he had to back up to complete his pit stop.

On the restart on Lap 140, Larson was followed by Chastain, Bell, Elliott and Kyle Busch.

Bell spun on his own on Lap 142 to bring out the ninth caution of the race. Most of the lead-lap cars remained on the track. Larson still led the way on the restart on Lap 148.

Chastain worked his way around Larson to reclaim the lead on Lap 160 as Larson dropped to second and Elliott ran third.

Stage 1

Bowman passed teammate Byron with two laps to go and held on for the Stage 1 win.

Chastain finished third, Hamlin fourth and Elliott rounded out the top-five.

Bell started on the pole and took command of the race early.

After 12 laps, Joey Logano had moved into second, 1.9-seconds behind Bell as Larson dropped to third.

On Lap 31, NASCAR displayed a competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. All the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Blaney the first off pit road. Kyle Busch had an extended stop on pit road to fix a shifter issue and Larson was forced to pit twice for a loose lug nut.

Suarez (crew member over the wall too soon) and Daniel Hemric (too many crew members over the wall) both had to restart from the rear of the field.

On the restart on Lap 36, Blaney was followed by Hamlin, Bell, Bowman and Chastain.

Cole Custer spun off Turn 2 on Lap 38 to bring out a caution. Custer had started the race from the rear and made his way up to 25th.

When the race returned to green on Lap 43, Blaney remained out front followed by Bowman, Hamlin, Truex and Byron.

Just as Bowman got past Blaney for the lead after the restart, Austin Dillon got into Justin Haley to send him for a spin in an incident that also collected Kyle Busch and Hemric.

 

The race returned to green on Lap 48 with Bowman the leader followed by Blaney, Truex and Hamlin.

Hamlin got a big run through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 50 and used a three-wide move to power to the lead as Blaney moved to second and Bowman dropped to third.

Reddick spun off Turn 4 and through the infield oval on Lap 64, which brought out a caution. “I feel like I’m too tight in traffic,” said Reddick over his team radio. “It snaps on me with no warning,”

Most lead-lap cars pit but Kurt Busch stayed out and inherited the lead. Truex was assessed an interference penalty on his pit stop and had to restart from the rear of the field.

On the restart on Lap 69, Busch led the way followed by Corey LaJoie, Custer, Almirola and Blaney.

Kurt Busch brushed the wall on Lap 70 which allowed Byron to get around him and take the lead for the first time in the race.

Bowman got around Byron to reclaim the lead on Lap 78.

Kyle Busch (backup car) and Reddick, Hemric and Custer (all unapproved adjustments) had to start the race from the rear of the field.

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