LAS VEGAS – William Byron will start second for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is his second front row starting spot at the 1.5-mile track for the 25-year-old driver.
Byron’s lap of 185.153 mph in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was good for his fourth top-three starting spot in the last five races at Las Vegas. In last spring’s event, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native placed a track-best fifth.
"That was a wide-open lap there, so I’m not sure what I could have done different," Byron said. "I’m happy with the lap, though. Being second is good. Not pumped to be second for the fact of not getting the pole, but at least it’s a good starting spot. I’m excited for that.
"We just need a good, solid day tomorrow with the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy. Hopefully, we can get ourselves a win and move up the points standings."
Kyle Larson will take the grid from the sixth position in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 30-year-old’s lap of 184.250 mph put him in the third row for the start of Sunday’s 400-miler. This is the fifth top-six starting spot for the Elk Grove, California, native in his last six races at Las Vegas. He won this race in 2021 for the first of his 10 wins in his title campaign and he has four top-two finishes at this track (including a runner-up to Alex Bowman last spring).
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Bowman comes into this race as the defending race winner. He just missed advancing to the final round of qualifying and will start 11th in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Bowman has opened the season with back-to-back top-10 finishes (fifth in the DAYTONA 500 and eighth at Auto Club Speedway) and is third in the point standings.
"I really enjoy this racetrack," Bowman said in pre-practice media availability. "The results may not show it over the years, but it’s definitely been one of my best places."
Josh Berry, who is filling in this weekend for Chase Elliott, will line up 32nd in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Elliott is sidelined after undergoing surgery on a fractured tibia following an injury suffered while snowboarding in Colorado on Friday. Team president and general manager Jeff Andrews said on Saturday “there is no timeline at this point” regarding the 27-year-old’s return to the race car but indicated it will be several weeks.
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Joey Logano took the pole position for Sunday’s 267-lap race.
Larson topped the board in practice (184.407 mph), while Byron placed fifth (183.461 mph). On the 10-lap average board, Byron and Larson ranked first and second, respectively, to lead the category.
Hendrick Motorsports has seven wins at the 1.5-mile track in Nevada. Bowman and Larson have won the past two spring races and finished one-two in the running order in last year’s race. That same race also saw all four cars place inside the top 10 for just the second time at this particular track.
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The West Coast has been a strong spot for the Rick Hendrick-owned organization. The team’s 41 wins out West are the most in the series and 18 more than the next closest team. Over the last 13 races on the West Coast, Hendrick Motorsports has won six times.
Tune in to watch the Las Vegas race – the third points-paying event of the 2023 season – on Sunday, March 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).