Truex Jr. wins South Point 400
8:30 pm - Sunday Good Night - That's a wrap on this weekend's coverage of NASCAR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Thank you for joining us. We'll meet you back here next February for another exciting weekend of racing NASCAR style. Good night!
8:00 pm - Truex Clinches Spot in Next Round of Playoffs - Martin Truex, Jr. is the first driver to clinch a spot in Round 2 of the Playoffs with a big win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Truex won Stage 3 and led three times for 32 laps, including the final 20 laps. This was Truex's 24th career victory, his fifth of the season and his second at this track.
"We took a gamble this weekend and qualified 24th," said Truex. "For a while there, it wasn't looking too smart with (Harvick) out front. But we got the right adjustment at the end. (Crew chief) Cole (Pearn) and the boys worked really hard this week to bring something different. This is a hell of a way to make a championship run."
Harvick led three times for 47 laps on his way to a runner-up finish.
"We were way off when we got here this weekend and the crew just kept working," said Harvick. "We qualified well. It wasn't where we wanted when we started the race. We got stage points and led there late and gave ourselves an opportunity. Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run."
Joey Logano started 22nd and charged through the field to win the first stage. He led more than anyone else with 105 laps out front but settled for a 9th-place finish after making contact with Daniel Suarez.
"He didn't know I was there and he crashed our car," said Logano. "We just didn't have a chance to fix it as good as it needed to be and as good as it was before that. They fixed it as good as they could to recover with a top-10."
It was a rough night for hometown heroes Kurt and Kyle Busch. Kurt started 5th but finished last when he blew a tire and crashed on Lap 189. Kyle received damage to his racecar in the opening laps and had to pit under green. After making up two laps to get back on the same circuit with the leaders, Busch tangled with a lapped car and ultimately finished 19th, one lap down.
"He sold it he was going to go high," said Kyle about the contact. "I thought he was going to go high. He went middle because I thought he was going to go high. And it killed our day. Should have run 4th probably but instead 19th. I don't know. We're the top echelon of motorsports and we've got guys that have never won Late Model races running out here on the race track. It's pathetic. They don't know where to go. What else do you do?"
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will make the long haul back east. They're next race will be September 21, under the lights at Richmond International Raceway.
7:10 pm - Truex Wins the South Point 400 - Martin Truex, Jr put Joe Gibbs Racing in Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a win in tonights South Point 400 and he made it look easy. Kevin Harvick finished 2nd, 4.173 seconds behind Truex.
This is Truex's fifth win of the season
3rd-5th: Keselowski, Elliott, Blaney, Bowman
6th-10th: Bowman Byron, Larson, Logano, Newman
6:58 pm - Truex to the Lead - Harvick briefly made his way back to lead but Truex catches him and easily takes the lead in Turn 4 on Lap 248.
6:55 pm - Lap 240 Update - The leaders have all made green flag pit stops. Mike DiBenedetto stayed out and currently leads. He is followed by Ty Dillon, McDowell, who are also gambling by staying out. Harvick is running 4th, followed by Suarez, Bowyer (still needs to pit), Keselowski, Blaney, Elliott and Byron
6:45 pm - Stage 3 Halfway Update - Harvick enjoys a 3.3 second lead over Truex. Keselowski and Blaney are running 3rd and 4th. Elliott rounds out the top 5. Meanwhile Kyle Busch is flying through the field and is currently running 6th.
6:30 pm - Back to Green - Most of the leaders stay out but Elliott gives up his top 10 position to pit. He takes on left side tires. Logano comes to pit road. His team is trying to pull the sheet metal off the tires after Logano and Suarez tangled on the track.
For the restart it's Harvick, Blaney, Elliott, Suarez, Hamlin, Bown, Hemric, Keselowski, Johnson, Almirola.
Kyle Busch restarts 17th.
Green flag on Lap 196.
6:23 pm - Kurt Busch Blows Tire, Crashes - We are under caution on Lap 189 after Kurt Busch blew a tire and pancaked the right side of his race car against the outside wall. This is a huge break for Kyle Busch who will get to pit under caution for fuel and fresh tires.
Top 5 under caution: Harvick, Blaney, Elliott, Truex, Hamlin
6:15 pm - Byron Spins, Brings Out Caution - We are under caution for the third time of the race and this time it's for an on-track incident. Byron's car started showing show smoke coming from the left rear tire area on Lap 174. 4 laps later, Byron was trying to get to pit road when that tire let go and he spun out. There was no contact, so he'll limp back to pit road.
Pit stops on Lap 183
Austin Dillon is penalized for an uncontrolled tire. He'll restart at the rear.
Hamlin takes the lead off pit road. Blaney will restart second, followed by Elliott, Suarez and Harvick
Kyle Busch took the wave around and is back on the lead lap but low on fuel.
Back to green on Lap 186. Kurt Busch is smoking on Lap 187. Harvick takes the lead on Lap 188.
6:05 pm Stage 3 Green Flag - Truex retained the lead through that round of pit stops. Logano returns to the track in the runner-up position, followed by Ellott, Harvick and Bowman who made up several positions on pit road. Truex will restart on the outside line.
Larson was penalized for a safety violation. He'll restart at the tail end of the longest lane.
Back to green on Lap 168.
Logano gets some help from behind and sneaks around Truex for the lead. But Truex battles back on the high side. Logano leads that lap but Truex gets it on the backstretch.
5:55 pm - Truex Takes Stage 2 - Logano dominated the laps led in that segment but Truex fought his way to second place and wrestled the lead away with two laps to go in the stage. The top five finishers in that segment were Truex, Logano, Larson, Harvick and Elliott.
Pole winner Bowyer has completely lost the hand on his racecar. He went a lap down to Logano on Lap 152 and is running 19th.
5:35 pm - Stage 2, Halfway - Logano continues to set the pace. Elliott is 2nd. 3rd-5th are Larson, Truex, and Byron. Kurt Busch begins this round of green flag pit stops on Lap 122. Logano makes his stop on Lap 124. Buescher cycled to the lead until he peel off the track to end the round of pit stop. The running order on Lap 124 is Logano, Elliott, Truex, Larson, Harvick, Byron, Hamlin, Blaney, Kurt Busch, Almirola.
5:15 pm - Stage 2 Green Flag - Harvick beat Logano off pit road to take the lead for the first time today. The top 5 for the restart are Harvick, Logano, Almirola, Byron, and Ty Dillon. We're back to green on Lap 88. Three wide for the lead and Logano edges out to the lead briefly. Byron fights back on the outside and he'll lead that lap. Logano charges back on the inside and retakes the top spot. Erik Jones is slow on the track. He comes to pit road. His transmission is stuck in second gear.
5:05 pm - Logano Wins Stage #1 - Logano won that first stage and it wasn't even close. Logano started 22nd and took just 34 laps to get to the front. From there he drove away from the field, finishing the stage more than 6 seconds ahead of Harvick. Rounding out the top 5 were Almirola, Suarez, and Austin Dillon.
Pit stops are coming up.
4:55 pm - Lap 65 Update - Stenhouse Jr scrapes the wall on Lap 56 and he'll have to come to pit road under green. Kyle Busch is now two laps down after his early encounter with the wall. Logano continues to show the way. He has a 4.8-second lead over Harvick who just took advantage of a mistake by Almirola and passed him for the runner-up position. suarez is running 4th and Kurt Busch is 5th.
4:45 pm - Stage #1, Halfway Update - Joey Logano has charged through the field from his 22nd place starting position to the lead. Elliott and Jones start a round of green-flag pit stops. Suarez gives up 3rd place to pit on Lap 41. Harvick pits. Bowyer peels off the track from 7th position and makes his stop. Kurt Busch, Almirola and Truex are in.
Logano gives up the lead and makes his stop on Lap 43 (He led 9 laps).
Pass through penalty for Ross Chastain - speeding on pit road. 4 drivers have yet to make a stop. They are McDowell, Ty Dillon, Cassill and LaJoie. When this round of pit stops cycles through, Logano will be back in the lead followed by Almirola, Suarez, Harvick, Stenhouse, and Bowyer.
4:30 pm - Kyle Busch and Harvick Suffer Early Damage - Kyle Busch makes an unscheduled pit stop under green. He made contact with the wall and is showing damage all the way down the right side. He had to come to pit road when a tire blew. He gets fuel and right side tires. He rejoins the race 39th, one lap down to the leaders.
Lap 16: Now Harvick scrapes the wall and radios his crew to get ready for a possible visit.
Up front it's Suarez, Bowyer, Almirola, Stenhouse and Harvick, who is riding it out on the track for now.
4:20 pm - South Point 400 Green Flag - This race is scheduled to go 267 laps. Stage #1 will end on Lap 80 and Stage #2 will end on Lap 160. The sky is partially cloudy and the winds have picked up. Tall that takes the the edge off, but make no mistage about it -- it's still pretty darn hot.
MRO Chaplain Billy Mauldin has delivered the invocation and Sierra Black has performed the National Anthem. Cole Hauser gives the command to start engines
Bowyer leads the field off pit road for the first time in 12 years. He won the race at New Hampshire that day. He obviously wouldn't mind at all seeing history repeat itself, this time in the desert. Kurt Busch, who is still seeking his first victory here at home, starts 5th but he'll have to get past the Stewart-Haas Racing jauggernaut to put that notch in his belt.
Green Flag and Round 1 of the 2019 Playoffs is coming at you!
Bowyer and Suarez battle for first and give it to Bowyer at the start/finish line but barely.
Lap 1: Bowyer, Suarez, Harvick, Almirola, Kurt Busch
3:00 pm - South Point 400 Pre-Race - Race day in Vegas tends to be a celebrity magnet and today's event is no different with stars from sports and entertainment participating in or just spectating today's festivities. VIP guests of the speedway include Vegas Golden Knights player, Mark Stone; actor and longtime NASCAR fan Wilmer Valderanna, and actor, Jaime Camil. NFL legend Marshawn Lynch is today's Honorary Pace Car Driver and "Yellowstone" star Cole Hauser will give the command to start engines. Today's flyover will be courtesy of 4 A-10s, 66th Weapons Squadron Exterminators housed across the street at Nells Air Force Base.
1:10 pm - Bowyer Leads Stewart-Haas Qualifying Sweep - When Clint Bowyer won the pole for South Point 400, it marked 12 years to the day since he last accomplished that feat. It was September 14, 2007 and the place was New Hampshire International Speedway, the track that sacrificed one of its two Cup dates so the series could come to LVMS twice a year.
How did he do it?
"Beats the hell out of me, guys," said Bowyer. "I'm as shocked as you are. Tons of fun. Obviously, bragging rights for the guys. Hey, we sat on the pole, but, look--my gosh. 1-2-3-4 for Stewart-Haas Racing. I think that shows a lot about our hard work, our dedication, our focus, certainly on a qualifying lap."
And how have things changed in the last dozen years?
"Well, it used to be that you got a check," Bowyer said. "I don't even think the pole pays anything anymore, I don't know. I got a flag. I didn't even get a beer. This is the Busch Light Pole Award, and there was no Busch Beer out there. Man, I had Jack Daniels for a sponsor back then (in 2007). Let me tell you, that day was celebrated roughly. Yeah, those were the days."
Daniel Suarez will line up beside Bowyer on the first row after missing the pole by a scant 0.009-second. This is Suarez's first top-10 start in five attempts at LVMS. He is the only non-playoff driver starting in the top five.
Kevin Harvick, who is coming off a win at Indy last week, qualified third to post his 18th top 10 start in 27 races this season.
"I kind of blew it right there getting up to speed," Harvick admitted. "I got sideways accelerating coming off pit road there. Our guys have done a great job and we have done a lot of things to make our cars handle better and knocking speed out of them so they have done a great job."
Aric Almirola rounded out the top-four qualifying sweep for Stewart Haas Racing.