Kyle Busch wins Stratosphere 200 NCWTS race
By Lori Vizza
8:50 pm - Friday Good Night - This concludes today's coverage from the speedway. Congratulations to Kyle Busch and the KBM Motorsports team on tonight's victory. Please join us tomorrow for more NASCAR action, including the Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300.
8:45 pm - Busch Records Truck Series Win #50 - Kyle Busch kicked off his tripleheader weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a milestone victory in the Stratosphere 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Busch started on the pole and led 55 of 134 laps to record his 50th series victory. With the victory, Busch becomes the first driver to win in the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series at his home track.
"It feels really good," said Busch. "It was intense, that's for sure. The restarts were definitely chaotic. I can't say enough about this Cessna Toyota Tundra. It was just really, really fast."
Lapped traffic played a crucial role in the final laps as both Brett Moffitt and Johnny Sauter took a shot at the lead as the laps wound down. Sauter eventually won the battle for the runner-up position while Moffitt settled for third.
"There was a lot of action from where I was at," said Sauter, who has three top-10 finishes in the first three races of the season. "I could not get going tonight on a restart. I found myself in great track position from great pit stops and then drop the green flag and I'd get shuffled out."
Moffitt, who won last week's event at Atlanta, led twice for 27 laps but was disappointed despite his strong finish.
"I've never been so mad finishing third in my life. It’s kind of silly to have lapped cars going that slow and running two-wide and we’re running 30 miles an hour faster and catching them in a pack. It’s uncalled for and someone’s going to get hurt."
After three races, Johnny Sauter holds the points lead by 39 over Brett Moffitt. The Truck Series will take the next two weeks off before returning to action at Martinsville on March 24.
7:50 pm - Kyle Busch Wins the Stratosphere 200 - We go back to green on Lap 123. There are 11 laps to go. Busch jumps out to front, while they fan out four-wide behind him.
Lap 127 - Moffitt breaks away and moves up on Busch's tailgate.
Lap 128 - The top four drivers are now running by themselves. It's Busch, Moffitt, Sauter and Enfinger.
Lap 130 - The leaders come up on lapped traffic and Moffit falls back to fourth.
Lap 131 - Now its Sauter in Busch's tire tracks. And Busch is swerving around trying to fend off Sauter’s advances
White flag: Sauter is 0.181-second behind Busch. And here comes Moffitt again. Moffit goes side-by-side with Sauter for second. And that’s all Busch needs as he wins the Stratosphere 200 and becomes the first driver to win in all three series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
2nd-5th: Sauter, Moffitt, Enfinger, Friesen
7:40 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 120 Update - Snider makes a green flag pit stop on Lap 102 and gets a pass-through penalty for an uncontrolled tire.
Lap 108 - Moffitt makes contact with a lapped truck and while those two duke it out, Busch sweeps around the outside to take the lead
Lap 109 – Davis makes a green flag stop.
Lap 111 – More green flag pit stops
Lap 114 – Gragson and Rhodes make their stops
Lap 115 – Busch gives up the lead to make his pit stop. Sauter also pits and takes just 2 tires. Coughlin pits for four times
Lap 119 – Caution for a spin on the track. It was French driver Michel Disdier who spun out.
Running order under caution on Lap 120: Busch, Gragson, Sauter, Rhodes, Moffitt, Friesen
7:30 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 100 Update - Busch chooses the inside line for the restart and we go back to green on Lap 78.
Lap 81 – Busch continues to lead but there is a piece of paper clinging to his front grill, so he'll have to worry about overheating.
And just like that, Moffitt passes Busch for the lead. As Busch gets passed, the debris flies away so it will no longer be a problem.
Running order on Lap 100 – Moffitt (0.30-second lead), Busch, Gragson, Sauter, Coughlin
7:10 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 73 Update - Friesen, Moffitt and Busch battle three-wide on Lap 69 for the lead and give it to Moffitt. Busch follows him in second.
Lap 73 – Under caution for a spin by Justin Haley. Haley made contact with Snider before that spin.
Top five under caution: Busch, Moffitt, Coughlin, Sauter, Friesen.
7:05 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 68 Update - The leaders pit under caution on Lap 63. The running order after stops is Friesen, Sauter, Moffitt, Haley, Gragson, Currey, Busch, Snider, Coughlin, Davis, Sargeant.
There are 19 trucks on the lead lap as we go back to green for Stage 3 on Lap 68.
6:55 pm - Stratosphere 200, Stewart Friesen Wins Stage 2 - Friesen hangs onto to the lead through Lap 60 and wins Stage 2. 2nd-10th: Snider, Busch, Rhodes, Moffitt, Gragson, Haley, Sauter, Enfinger, Davis
We're under caution.
6:50 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 50 Update - Friesen makes a daring three-wide move to take the lead on Lap 44. Busch battles back on the outside and holds onto 2nd while Entfinger slides back to 9th.
Friesen and Busch continue their side-by-side battle an Entfinger continues to hold Busch off.
Top five on Lap 50: Friesen, Busch, Snider, Rhodes Gragson.
6:45 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 39 Update - The leaders pit under caution on Lap 33. On Lap 34, Crafton pulls behind the wall with a mechanical problem. Apparently it's a brake failure that has put Crafton out of this race.
Running order under caution: Entfinger (did not pit), Busch (took fuel only), Gragson, Davis, Friesen
And we're back to racing on Lap 39.
6:35 pm - Stratosphere 200, Gragson Wins Stage 1 - Noah Gragson holds onto the lead to win Stage 1. Kyle Busch Motorsports entries are 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Davis in second and boss-man Kyle in third. 4th through 10th: Friesen, Myatt Snider, Rhodes, Sauter, Moffitt, Coughlin, Crafton.
We're under caution for the second time.
6:30 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 27 Update - It took Kyle Busch just two laps after the restart on Lap 20 to make his way back into the top 5.
John Hunter Nemechek had a flat tire and has to pit under green. He pits outside his box and has to serve a penalty. That puts him three laps behind the leaders.
Up front Noah Gragson grabs the lead.
6:25 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 21 Update - Back to green on Lap 21 - Friesen is the leader on the restart, followed by Gragson, John Nemechek, Sauter, Moffitt, Davis, Rhodes
After the pit stop. Busch restarts 17th.
Josh Raume is the beneficiary and gets back on the lead lap.
Matt Crafton has battled all the way up to 9th after starting the race at the rear.
6:20 pm - Stratosphere 200, Lap 14 Update - Busch has led the first 10 laps of the race. 2nd through 5th are Friesen, Gragson, Davis and Sauter. Busch has 0.30-second lead and eight drivers have already fallen off the lead lap.
And we're under caution for the first time on Lap 14. Justin Marks slides sideways out of Turn 4 but avoids contact. He'll lose a lap to the leaders after that wild ride.
Under caution running order: Busch, Friesen, Gragson, Sauter, John Nemechek
Kyle Busch gives up the lead on Lap 16 to make a pit stop and he's all by himself as the rest of the field stays on the track.
6:15 pm - Stratosphere 200, Green Flag - Tonight's event is scheduled for 134 laps, 201 miles. Stages 1 and 2 will end on Laps 30 and 60, respectively.
Matt Crafton's team made an unapproved adjustment so he'll give up his 12th place starting position and start at the rear. Other drivers starting at the rear are BJ McLeod, Mike Senica, Tommy Regan and Dalton Sargeant.
Kyle Busch is lined up on the inside of the front row and leads the field off of Turn 4….and… Green flag!
Busch goes to the front and he'll lead Lap 1 followed by Johnny Sauter, Spencer Davis, Stewart Friesen, and Noah Gragson
5:40 pm - Rhodes Goes For Two in a Row - This evening's Stratiosphere 200 marks the first time the Truck Series teams have raced at LVMS on the same weekend as the Xfinity and Cup Series. The Series has competed here 21 times, but so far, all have been standalone races.
Eleven different drivers have won at LVMS since 2007 and only two Truck Series drivers have ever won here twice. Jack Sprague did it in 1996 and 1998, while Mike Skinner went to Victory Lane in 2006 and 2008.
Ben Rhodes is one driver in tonight's field that hopes to end that 11-race streak. Rhodes, who starts 15th, won the Truck race here last October to score his first career series victory in spectacular fashion. Rhodes was able to defend the attack of eventual series champion Christopher Bell and sealed the deal with a daring block on the apron following a late restart.
Johnny Sauter, who won the race here in 2009, is the only other driver who can break the streak. Sauter rolls off for tonight's event in the 3rd position.
5:17 pm - Ryan Blaney Wins the Pennzoil 400 Pole - Ryan Blaney will lead the field to green for Sunday's MENCS main event after posting the fastest lap of the day at 191.489 mph. Blaney becomes the 14th different LVMS pole winner with his third career pole. His most recent pole came at Phoenix in November 2017.
5:00 pm - Harvick Fastest in MENCS Qualifying Round 2 - Kevin Harvick wins the 2nd round of qualifying with a 191.090-mph lap. The remaining 11 drivers advancing to Round 3 are: Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Jr., Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard and Kurt Busch.
Paul Menard bumped Kyle Busch out of the top 12 in the closing moments of the qualifying session. Busch ended up 13th overall and misses out on competing for his second pole of the day.
"The time was just kind of off from what it was in practice," said Kyle Busch. "For as free as it was, I'm a little surprised. Lucky 13 should get us to where we need to be. Hopefully, we'll roll triple 7s on Sunday and come out of here with the win."
4:45 pm - Menard Fastest in MENCS Qualifying Round 1 - Paul Menard posted a 190.181-mph lap to win the first round of qualifying for the Pennzoil 400. Joining Menard in Round Two are Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Martin Truex, Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Trevor Bayne, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon.
4:25 pm - MENCS Qualifying Round 1 Underway - The first round of qualifying for Sunday's Pennzoil 400 has just begun. The top 24 drivers from Round One will transfer to Round Two. The top 12 drivers from Round Two advance to Round Three to run for the pole.
4:05 pm - Kyle Busch Wins Stratosphere 200 Pole - Kyle Busch will lead the field to green for this evening's Truck Series main event. Busch won the pole with a 176.615 mph lap. Stewart Friesen will start on the front row alongside Busch. Johnny Sauter, Spencer Davis and Noah Gragson will start 3rd through 5th.
This was Busch's 20th pole in 142 Truck Series starts and his first in two attempts in the series at LVMS. Myatt Snider was the fastest qualifying rookie and will start the race 10th.
3:40 pm - Kyle Busch Fastest in NCWTS Qualifying Round One - Kyle Busch won the first round of qualifying with a fast lap of 176.586 mph. The 12 drivers that will advance to Round Two and run for the pole are: Busch, Stewart Friesen, Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Justin Marks, Spencer Davis, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, John H. Nemechek and Myatt Snider.
3:05 pm - NCWTS Qualifying Underway - Qualifying for tonight's Stratosphere 200 has just began. All 32 drivers will make a single lap attempt in Round One. The top 12 drivers from Round One will advance to Round Two and run for the pole.
3:00 pm - Larson Leads Xfinity Final Practice - The final practice session for the Xfinity teams has just concluded and Kyle Larson is still the man with the plan. Larson's fastest lap was 179.988 mph. Ryan Blaney is second quickest with a 179.188 mph lap. Rounding out the top 10 are Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer and Elliott Sadler.
2:10 pm - Xfinity Series Final Practice Begins - The Xfinity Series teams have 50 minutes on the track to prepare for tomorrow's Boyd Gaming. We're not quite five minutes into this session, and big surprise--Kyle Larson is back on top. Behind him it's Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch.
1:25 pm - Home Sweet Home - Any NASCAR driver will tell you that a win at any track on the circuit is a big deal but for most, a win at home is more than big. It's huge. Four drivers are hoping to cash in on that experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including the Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt.
Younger brother Kyle is already comfortable with Victory Lane at LVMS, having won the Cup Series race here in 2009 and the Xfinity Series race here in 2016. Busch's only other Truck Series start here came in 2001, when he started 3rd and finished 9th. In fact, LVMS is the only active track on the series schedule where he has started at least one event but has never visited Victory Lane. A win in tonight's Stratosphere 200 would kick off the possibility of a tripleheader sweep and give Busch an even 50 victories in the Truck Series.
"It would certainly be special to win here," said Kyle. "I love coming out to Las Vegas. You want to win any weekend, but especially when it's in your hometown and you remember this track being built from the ground up and the hole being dug in which we're sitting in right now."
Kyle's older brother Kurt is still seeking his first Cup Series victory at LVMS after 16 tries.
"(A win at LVMS) would be huge," admits Kurt. "I know we are as prepared as we can be. My teammate (Kevin Harvick) won last week. There is no reason why the 41 car can't win here this weekend. It would mean the world to me. I have won Daytona and Charlotte and been close at the Southern 500. Vegas ranks up there in the top-five for me."
The other two Las Vegas natives racing this weekend are Spencer Gallagher, driving the No. 23 Xfinity Series entry and Noah Gragson, aboard the No. 18 Truck owned by Kyle Busch.
1:00 pm - Larson Fastest in Xfinity Practice #1 - Doesn't matter what car he's in, Kyle Larson is the fastest man at LVMS today. After leading the first Cup Series practice session, Larson backed it up with a 179.581 mph lap to lead the first Xfinity Series practice. Ryan Blaney was second fastest at 179.313 mph. Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer settled in 3rd through 5th.
12:05 pm - Xfinity Series Practice #1 Underway - Christopher Bell is the first Xfinity Series driver on the track for this 50-minute practice session. A backup in the inspection area means only five drivers have completed laps in the first five minutes of this session. Bell is the early leader at 177.136 mph. Behind him it's Daniel Hemric and Las Vegas native Spencer Gallagher.
12:00 pm - Larson Fastest in First Cup Practice - The first Cup Series practice is in the books and Kyle Larson leads the way with a lap at 190.658 mph. Second fastest is Atlanta winner Kevin Harvick at 190.409 mph. Rounding out the top five are Paul Menard, Kyle Busch, and William Byron.
11:40 am - Blowing in the Wind - Talk in the garage this morning is all about the wind. Gusty conditions could prove to be challenging, depending on who you talk to. Las Vegas native Kyle Busch is the only driver entered in all three races this weekend, so he'll be dealing with it the most.
"This is really strong wind," Busch said. "Last year I remember the wind being really, really bad in the (Cup Series) race, and you kind of used it to your advantage a little bit in some portions of the race track it was a mess. It was a handful. It blows the cars around. It changes the trajectory of where you're going.
We're going in a circle, so we're hitting the wind in different directions every single moment on the racetrack. So you just never know where that gust is going to be. It's just very, very complicated to keep up with. It makes you have to be on your toes. I think the Cup cars will be the worst because they have the least amount of downforce and they go the fastest. The Xfinity cars will be second worst and the trucks will be third, just because the trucks you can run around here wide open and they punch a pretty big hole already."
Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson had a little different take on the topic.
"I always feel like you ask the guys who have 15 years or more experience and they can feel a two-mph wind," said Larson. "But us young racers, I feel like the wind doesn't bother us as much. I remember when that huge wind storm, dust storm, whatever, rolled through here a couple of years ago. I couldn't really tell a difference in balance or what. So, I don't know, I would like to say it doesn't matter, but maybe if I go out there and my car is struggling, I will just blame it on the wind. It seems like all the older guys can pinpoint the wind direction a lot more than us."
11:10 am - Cup Series Practice Underway - Reigning Cup Series Champion Martin Truex rolls over the start/finish line first to kick off today's first and only practice session for NASCAR's premiere division. The teams will have just 55 minutes to dial in their cars for this afternoon's qualifying session.
Five drivers will have even less time to shake down their racecars as they will have to serve penalties by sitting out the final 15 minutes of the session. Those drivers are: Kyle Busch, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Alex Bowman
The early leader is Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet at 189.195 mph. Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Erik Jones are currently 2nd through 5th.
8:00 am - Welcome to Day 2 - The Cup and Xfinity teams have joined us here at the race track, so we have a full infield and the garages are buzzing with activity. The Cup Series drivers will be the first to hit the track this morning with a 55-minute practice session scheduled to start at 11:00 am. The qualifying session for this evening's Stratosphere 200 starts at 3:05 pm and in between there will be a couple of Xfinity Series practices. After that, we still have Cup Series qualifying and the Truck Series main event. So plenty going on here at LVMS.
Join us here at the track for your chance to meet the stars of the Truck Series. They'll be signing autographs in the Neon Garage from 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm. If you can't be with us in person, keep it tuned here for live updates throughout the day.
11:00 am-11:55 am - Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice #1
12:05 pm - 12:55 pm - NASCAR Xfinity Series Practice #1
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Autograph Session (Neon Garage)
2:05 pm - 2:50 pm - NXS Final Practice
3:05 pm - NCWTS Qualifying (Single Vehicle/Two Rounds)
4:15 pm - MENCS Stratosphere Qualifying (Multi-vehicle/Three Rounds)
6:00 pm - NCWTS Stratosphere 200 (134 Laps/201 miles)