NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson led a race-high 103 laps to win the 2021 Pennzoil 400 on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo
March 8 (UPI) -- Kyle Larson became the fourth Cup Series driver in four races to claim a victory this season when his No. 5 Chevrolet crossed the finish line first at the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Larson started third and led a race-high 103 laps for the victory Sunday in Las Vegas. He moved up to third in the Cup Series standings with the victory, his second Top 5 finish in four starts in 2021.
"We put it all together and had a dominating race car to go along with it," Larson told reporters Sunday on a Zoom conference call. "It made my job behind the wheel a lot easier.
"It's cool to get a win this early in the year, now we [can] focus ahead and try to win a lot more, rack up playoff points, and put ourselves in a good spot once the playoffs start."
Brad Keselowski finished second, followed by Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney in the Top 5. Sunday's race featured 27 lead changes among a dozen drivers.
"I think definitely we've seen over the last four weeks different teams in different places than I think preseason predictions would have said," Keselowski said.
"It's still early. We've got a lot of running left to do, but [it has been a] very interesting and a provocative year."
Michael McDowell started the Cup Series season with a win in the Feb. 14 Daytona 500. Christopher Bell then won the road course race the next weekend at Daytona. William Byron then won the third race of the season Feb. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
William Byran led for the first 19 laps Sunday at Las Vegas. Chase Elliott then took over for laps 20 through 26.
Larson took his first lead on lap 27 and briefly exchanged the lead with Hamlin. Keselowski, Joey Logano and Elliott then tussled up top for laps 54 through 78. Keselowski then led laps 79 through 82 to win the first stage of the race.
Larson later took the lead on lap 147 and won the second stage of the race. He then exchanged the lead with Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez until he took the final lead on lap 238.
Hamlin led the second-most laps Sunday, with 47. Keselowski led 27 laps and Byron led 25 laps. Kevin Harvick -- who won the pole at Las Vegas -- finished 20th.
"I definitely have gotten more confident as each week has gone on," Larson said. "I think now winning a race just adds to that. In a way I guess it calms you down. You know you can go out there and win and contend at a lot of different types of racetracks."