Kyle Larson had a day of extremes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday.

Win both stages? Check.

Lead the most laps? Check.

Scrape the backstretch wall mid-race and barely escape with an intact car? Check.

Just hold off a hard-charging pole winner also gunning to lock in the Championship 4? Check.

Larson accomplished all those and more on his way to a victory in the South Point 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, earning his second win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and punching his ticket to race for a championship next month at Phoenix.

“To win both stages and win the race – it feels great,” Larson said. “We can now focus on winning another championship in a few weeks. We feel we have the best [team] in the business and we’re always happy to show it.”

Larson, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, took the checkered flag less than one-tenth of a second (0.082) ahead of runner-up Christopher Bell, who nudged Larson’s bumper heading to the checkered flag.

“I could see [Bell] coming in my mirror for sure,” Larson said. “Christopher has always raced us extremely clean. It could have gotten a lot crazier at the start-finish line for sure.”

“What a nail-biter over those last few laps,” added Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Hall of Famer Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman. “I was sweating that one. You could see Bell coming. It was a great day.”

The victory marked Larson’s fourth of the season and 23rd victory of his career. Larson led a race-high 133 laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval, including the final 45.

“I don’t know what else I could have done,” said Bell, who sits two points outside the Championship 4 cutline in fifth place. “I feel like that was my moment to make the final four and I didn’t quite capture it.

“I knew [Kyle] would be blocking so I went high and he did too. It wasn’t enough but it was a great day to get those stage points. We’re not out of it by any means but it would have been good to lock it in.”

Larson’s frantic finish and big Victory Lane celebration wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been able to save his car after spinning entering the backstretch midway through Stage 2. After lots of smoke and a tap against the wall, Larson recovered enough to win the stage, the ninth time in his career he has won Stages 1 and 2 in the same race.

“I almost gave it away when I hit the wall.” said Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion. “We had to fight the balance from there. I didn’t think it would get as close as it did at the end.

“This is really cool to race for another championship in a few weeks.”

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch was third, followed by Brad Keselowski (38 laps led) in fourth and Ross Chastain in fifth.

The South Point 400 was the opening race in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with all eight championship contenders placing within the top-11 finishers. William Byron (seventh place, one lap led), Martin Truex Jr. (ninth place, nine laps led) and Denny Hamlin (10th place, 23 laps led) sit on the positive side of the cutline with two races remaining until the cutoff.

Among other playoff contenders, Ryan Blaney (17 points below the cutline) finished sixth, Tyler Reddick (16 points below the cutline) was eighth and Chris Buescher (23 points below the cutline) placed 11th.

Larson averaged 135.635 mph around LVMS, completing the 267 laps in 2 hours, 57 minutes and 10 seconds. Seven caution periods took up 36 laps, with 26 drivers finishing on the lead lap and seven drivers exchanging the lead 20 times.

America’s best drivers return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 1-3, 2024, including the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 3. Call 800-644-4444 for NASCAR ticket information.