Saturday Race Blog
By Lori Vizza
5:42 pm - That will do it for today's coverage from LVMS. Join us again tomorrow for the NASCAR Cup Series Kobalt 400.
5:25 pm - Ty Dillon Takes Xfinity Points Lead - Ty Dillon's 8th place finish in the Boyd Gaming 300 was good enough to move him into the points lead past Chris Bueschler, who finished 14th. Dillon's lead is 6 points after three races.
Regan Smith’s 3rd place finish catapulted him from 14th to 8th for the biggest move among those drivers who have competed in all three races this season.
5:11 pm - Gaughan Finishes 6th at Hometown Track – Brendan Gaughan qualified 5th, led two times for three laps and came home 6th. In the closing laps, Gaughan, who lined up beside teammate Dillon for the final restart, but like everyone else in the field, couldn't pass him. On the final lap he gave his fans something to cheer about as he valiantly battled Chase Elliott for 5th.
"We had a shot to win it," said Gaughan. "That’s all you can ask for. We had to restart underneath Austin and actually got a better restart and he did what he had to do. He pinned me down really hard and it pulled me back and I lost a little bit. That was my chance to get away and he kind of snatched it back from me. I would have been very, very upset if he didn’t win this race. (Sponsor) South Point Casino still gets to be in Victory Lane as long as Austin’s there. So, we’re happy.
"We gave them (the fans) something a little spectacular coming to the white flag. I tried to make (Chase Elliott) loose and I did. Then I couldn’t get out of the way, so it was my own fault. We had a hell of an almost spin there and saved it to come home 6th."
4:47 pm - Dominant Dillon Enjoys 1st LVMS Victory - Race car drivers rarely dominate an event that way Austin Dillon did today. The No 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was the fastest thing on the track through both practice sessions and won the pole after posting the fastest lap in two of three rounds of qualifying. After the green flag fell, he led five times for 183 of 200 laps. In the closing laps, he held off a hard-charging Ryan Blaney to seal the deal and score his 3rd series victory.
Blaney got a run on Dillon as the two raced nose-to-tail with two laps to go but Dillon threw a spectacular block to stay out front.
"You've got to do what you've got to do to do whatever you can to win," said Dillon. "Our car was dominant all day and to give one away like that would have been heart breaking. I hadn’t heard in my ear all day that somebody was catching me and he was catching us about 0.3 a lap and that was all I had.
"The other good thing is, my crew chief made sure nobody told me that he had tires on so I wouldn’t second guess myself.
“A fun last few laps. I’m glad it ended like that because those are memorable races. It was a dominant performance but at the end it was a race. That’s what the Xfinity Series is for. We gave a good show at the end."
4:32 pm - Blaney Comes Home 2nd - Ryan Blaney took advantage of a late pit stop for tires and was the only driver to come close to stealing the victory from Austin Dillon, who dominated the event. Blaney tore up through the field after that final pit stop. When he finally got a chance to make a run at Dillon with two laps to go, Dillon threw a tremendous block to hold onto the lead and race to Victory Lane.
Before challenging Dillon though, Blaney made contact with Erik Jones, who lost control of his car and hit the wall. That move took a bit of the shine off of Blaney's runner-up finish.
"Contact with Erik, that sucked," said Blaney. "It just kind of got me loose down in (Turns) 3 and 4 and unfortunately we hit him a little bit. I hate to see him wreck. It is a racing incident but you never want to see a wrecked race car and you be a part of it. That is the worst spot to be in, pinned down on the bottom and have someone right on your door. It happens but I don't like getting into things with people and I hate to see a race car torn up. I hate to see it. I hope he knows I feel bad about it.
“I was actually surprised we ran him (Dillon) down. Got a good run off 4 and he did what he needed to do and stopped my run. Then I slipped a little bit in (Turns) 1 and 2 on the white flag lap up top and I couldn’t get to his outside.
“I think it was a good call to come in and put four (tires) on it. It tightened me up some more. I was really loose all day and we didn’t have anything for the 33 (Dillon) all day and that gave us a shot at it."
3:40 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Checkered Flag - Blaney catches Dillon with 3 laps to go. Blaney peeks inside and Dillon throws the block. They take the white flag and Blaney looks high in Turn 1. Dillon moves up to block again. Out of Turn 4 Blaney gets sideways and Dillon wins at Las Vegas!
3: 38 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #20 - Blaney is doing everything he can to catch Dillon. He almost puts it in the wall but somehow holds onto it. Dillon as a 0.5-second lead with 5 laps to go.
3:36 pm – Boyd Gaming 300 Update #19 – Lap 188 – Blaney and Hamlin are racing side-by-side for 3rd. Blaney takes 3rd and is now racing for 2nd with Smith. Blaney is running faster than Dillon right now and he takes the runner-up spot with 7 laps to go.
3:31 pm – Boyd Gaming 300 Update #18 – A Dillon leads the field to green on Lap 180
Gaughan slides back to 4th as Smith takes 2nd and Hamlin follows him into 3rd.
3:26 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #17 – Still under caution. Blaney makes a pit stop.
Top 5 under caution: A Dillon, Gaughan, Hamlin, Smith, Elliott
3:21 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #16 – Lap 17 : Back to green on Lap 173.
Caution #6 on Lap 174 – Jones crashes while racing Blaney for 5th. Blaney got loose and hits the rear quarter panel of Jones' car turning him into the outside wall.
Almirola gets the free pass.
3:11 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #15 - Back to green on Lap 167.
Caution #5 on Lap 168 when Dakoda Armstrong crashes after contact with David Starr and Ryan Reed.
Darrell Wallace, Jr gets the free pass
Lead lap running order under caution: A Dillon, Blaney, Hamlin, Gaughan, Smith, Jones, Poole, Suarez, T Dillon and Wallace
3:08 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #14 - Still under caution on Lap 163. Ty Dillon gets the free pass back on the lead lap.
Lead Lap Running order: A Dillon, Blaney, Jones, Hamlin, Gaughan, Smith, Elliott, Poole, Suarez, T Dillon
3:05 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #13 - Blaney starts this round of green flag pit stops on Lap 151.
Lap 152 - A Dillon makes his stop handing the lead to Jones
Lap 154 - Buescher makes his pit as does Smith
Lap 155 – T Dillon comes down pit road
Lap 156 – Jones gives up the lead to make a stop and Hamlin takes over the lead
Lap 157 – Hamlin to pit road and Gaughan into the lead
Lap 159 – Earnhardt makes his stop
Lap 160 – Gaughan gives up 1st place to come to pit road and Elliott inherits the lead
Lap 161 – A Dillon retakes the lead as Elliott comes to pit road but the 4th caution flies on Lap 161 when Mario Gosselin spins out in Turn 2. Elliott continues through the pits.
2:50 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #12 - On Lap 134 there are only 1 cars left on the lead lap as A Dillon makes it clear this his race to lose. Dale Earnhardt Jr is running 10th and the leader passes him on Lap 138.
2:45 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #11 - Lap 128 – A Dillon has stretched his lead to more than 3.5 seconds. Jones gets loose and Blaney takes over second place. 0
Running order on Lap 130: A Dillon, Blaney, Jones, Hamlin, Smith
2:35 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #10 - A Dillon retakes the lead on Lap 113
2:30 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #9 - Lap 106: Sadler, Almirola, Jones and Hamlin make pit stops
Lap 107: A Dillon comes down pit road along with Brennan Poole and Ty Dillon
Brendan Gaughan inherits the lead on Lap 106 and then makes a pit stop next time by.
Daniel Suarez inherits the lead on Lap 107.
Dakoda Armstrong penalized for speeding
Dexter Bean spins coming into pit road but we stay green.
Suarez comes to the pits and hands the lead to teammate Erik Jones.
Running order after pit stops: Jones, A Dillon, Blaney, Hamlin Smith
2:30 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #8 - Lap 100 - Halfway - A Dillon continues to lead and if the caution doesn't come out, we should start seeing green flag pit stops within the next soon.
Earnhardt is complaining that his car is "wrecking loose".
Running 2nd-5th: Jones, Blaney, Hamlin and Earnhardt
Regan Smith is the first to pit on Lap 104.
2:15 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #7 - Lap 75 – A Dillon is still out front but the order has shuffled a bit behind him.
Erik Jones is running second with Blaney 3rd and Gaughan up to 4th. Dale Earnhardt Jr rounds out the top 5.
2:10 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #6 - Lap 59 – A Dillon leads the field back to green. He's led all but one lap so far. Ryan Blaney led one under caution during the round of pit stops.
2:00 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #5 - Lap 52 - The caution flies for the 3rd time. There was contact between the Blake Koch and Ryan Reed and Koch hits the outside wall in Turn 4.
Running order under caution: A Dillon, Jones, Blaney, Earnhardt, T Dillon, Gaughan, Darrell Wallace Jr, Chris Buescher, Elliott, Smith
Ross Chastain gets the free pass.
1:55 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #4 - Lap 48 - The caution flies for the 2nd time for debris on the track.
Everyone comes to pit road for service.
A Dillon is first off pit road. Behind him are Ryan Reed, Blaney, Erik Jones, Elliott
There were 2 penalties during that round of stops: Daniel Suarez was too fast getting onto pit road. John Wes Townley drove through too many pit stalls. Both drivers will restart at the rear.
Jeremy Clements got the free pass back onto the lead lap.
Back to green on Lap 51.
1:45 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #3 - Lap 30 - Dale Earnhardt Jr is flying through the field and is already back up to 10th after that early pit stop. A Dillon has caught the tail end of the field and is having to make his way through traffic but it's so far, it's not slowing him down any.
1:30 pm - Brian Scott Quote - After having engine problems two races in a row: "I don't know what happened. That's unfortunately our second engine problem of the weekend. It's a shame because we do have fast cars. We've just got to figure out what we've got to do before we get to the race track to keep this stuff from happening."
1:35 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #2 - Lap 22 - A Dillon leads the field back to green. There is slight contact between Elliott and Blaney but no harm, no foul as both drivers gather it up and keep going.
Earnhardt rejoins the field 21st after his stop.
Brian Scott has gone behind the wall and his team will see if they can do anything to fix his ailing engine.
Dexter Bean has replaced Joey Gase in the No 52 Chevrolet.
1:30 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Update #1 - Lap 12: We're under caution for the first time. Mike Bliss crashed hard off Turn 2 in the No 19 Toyota. Bliss is uninjured but his car is destroyed.
The leaders stay out but several cars pit, including Dale Earnhardt, who gives up 5th place to come in for fuel only.
Brian Scott also comes down pit road.
1st-5th: A Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon
1:20 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Green Flag - On the very first lap, Brian Scott (Started 2nd) can't get up to speed. The team has already changed one engine this weekend and now he's telling the crew there's something wrong with this one. Everyone manages to avoid Scott's Chevrolet as he falls all the way back to 38th.
Up front: Austin Dillon, Landon Cassill, Dale Earnhardet, Jr, Chase Elliott and Chris Buescher
1:10 pm - Boyd Gaming 300 Up Next – The drivers have been given the command to start engines and they slowly roll off pit road. They'll go 200 laps/300 miles and the fuel window for today's race is 54 laps.
Starting at the rear: Morgan Shepherd, Ross Chastain and Derek White for unapproved adjustments after qualifying. Joey Gase will join those drivers at the rear of the field for missing the driver's meeting.
12:52 pm - Ragan to a Backup – The M&M's team has rolled out the backup car and David Ragan will join Gordon in the last row to start tomorrow's Kobalt 400.
12:35 pm - Gordon to a Backup – And this just in, Jeff Gordon's team is unloading the backup car, so instead of starting first in the Kobalt 400, he'll fall to the back and have to battle his way back to the front.
12:30 pm - Johnson Fastest in Final Practice - The final practice session is over and there was no change at the top of the speed charts. The top five were Johnson, Logano, Mears, Truex, Jr and Harvick.
There was quite a bit of action in the closing minutes of practice. First, David Ragan, who is filling in for Kyle Busch, slapped the outside wall with the No 18 Toyota. In a separate incident, Danica Patrick spun and collected pole winner Jeff Gordon, who was 14th fastest, and there is damage to both cars.
Ragan and Gordon's crews are evaluating the damage to their vehicles and will have to decide whether they can make repairs or have to roll out their backup cars, which would send them to the back of the field for the start of tomorrow's race. The damage on the 10 is cosmetic, so Danica will get to keep her 21st place starting position.
11:32 am - Final Cup Series Practice Underway – The Cup Series teams have 55 minutes to get as much time on the track as they need to make adjustments for Sunday's race. Johnson jumps up to the top of the speed chart early with a 187.637 mph lap. Logano is second fastest, followed by Casey Mears, Martin Truex, Jr and defending Cup champion Kevin Harvick.
10:35 am - Dillon Wins Boyd Gaming 300 Pole - Austin Dillon turned up the wick when it counted and went out and won the pole for today's Xfinity Series race with a 184.332 mph lap, his fastest of the weekend. Brian Scott, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney and Brendan Gaughan will line up 2nd through 5th.
10:27 am - Xfinity 2nd Round Quality Done - The second round of qualifying has concluded and for the first time this weekend, Austin Dillon is not the fastest Xfinity Series driver on the track. Brian Scott sped around LVMS at 182.718 mph with Dillon second at 182.488 mph. Third through fifth were Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott.
Those five drivers plus Dale Earnhardt Jr, Aric Almirola, Regan Smith, Brendan Gaughan, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Darrell Wallace Jr will run for the pole.
10:05 am - Xfinity 1st Round Qualifying Done - Austin Dillon was fastest in both practice sessions yesterday and he hangs onto the top spot with a 182.322 mph lap. Rounding out the top 5 are Brian Scott, Regan Smith, Chris Buescher and Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan.
Gaughan and Eric McClure both hit the debris in Turn 2, which turned out to be a spring rubber. Their respective teams are taking a look at the cars but neither one seems to have suffered major damage.
The two drivers who failed to qualify for today's event are Dexter Bean and Josh Reaume.
9:51 am - Xfinity Series Qualifying Underway - Round 1 has just concluded and Austin Dillon continues his strong performance at Las Vegas with the fastest lap at 182.322 mph. The red flag flies for debris in Turn 2 with 11 minutes to go in the session.
9:50 am - Gordon Hearts LVMS - Gordon has a lot of good memories of racing at LVMS and winning the 2001 race to post Hendrick Motorsports' first victory at the track was just one of them. In 17 starts here, Gordon has five top-5 finishes in addition to the victory and 8 top-10 finishes.
"This place has meant a lot to me," said Gordon. I has been an up and down track, performance wise, but I think that this track means a lot to our sport in how it has helped grow the sport. I'm proud to have won here and been a part of the growth and the success that we have seen here. It's been really amazing the interaction that I've gotten with people that I've been friends with for years, known for many years in the sport, as well as the fans."
9:30 am – Johnson Still Fastest – The Cup Series practice session is over and Johnson hung onto P1 with a 191.891 mph lap. The next fastest driver was Newman. Rounding out the top 5 are Harvick, Logano and Earnhardt. Kyle Larson ran more laps than anyone else. He completed 36 laps and sits 9th fastest on the speed chart.
9:22 am - Almirola Spins – Aric Almirola slides sideways out of Turn 2 and whoas it down quick enough to avoid hitting the inside wall. Both right side tires are flat, so he'll limp his Ford s-l-o-w-l-y back to pit road to avoid any damage. Almirola is 36th fastest in this session with about 15 minutes to go.
Almirola's car is on pit road while the team changes the right tires. And that is preventing the rest of the drivers from getting back on the track, so they're all losing time. The Petty Motorsports crew gets 'er done and the green flag waves with less than 5 minutes to go.
9:15 am - And Then There Were Two - When Gordon won the pole for the Kobalt 400 he added a notch to his pole belt and ticked off another first in his career. The only two tracks left on the circuit where Gordon has not yet won a pole are Kentucky Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Gordon has 79 career poles and is third on the all-time list.
9:00 am - Johnson Leads Early Practice – We're halfway through this first practice session and Jimmie Johnson sits at the top of the speed chart with a 191.891 mph lap. Ryan Newman is second fastest at 189.773 mph. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out the top 5.
8:25 am - Welcome to Day 2 of our coverage of NASCAR weekend. The Cup Series drivers are about ready to start their morning practice session, which will go until 9:25 am. The Xfinity Series drivers will quality at 9:45 am and the final Cup practice is from 11:30 am-12:25 pm. At 1 pm, we'll line 'em up for the Boyd Gaming 300.
If you're in the neighborhood...run (don't walk) out to the Speedway and join us for what promises to be a great day. The weather is spectacular and seats are still available, so what are you waiting for?
If you can't make it out to the track, keep it tuned here for all the action as it happens.