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March 1, 2023

Advance to Victory Lane: Projected Las Vegas winner and race results

Kyle Larson, wearing sunglasses, leans on a railing and looks ahead

Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 5.

The season started off with a surprise winner in Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the Daytona 500, and it continued with one of the sport’s winningest drivers returning to Victory Lane in Kyle Busch at Auto Club Speedway. What happens next at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is anybody’s guess.

There have been 10 different drivers who have finished in the top five through the season’s first two races, and this is the second straight season we’ve seen such parity. It’s also the second straight season the NASCAR Cup Series has used the Next Gen car, and it’s apparent that the car has leveled the playing field to a certain degree.

The Chevrolets came into Vegas on a hot streak, having won the first two races. Trackhouse Racing in particular was hot with both of their Chevrolet drivers, Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez, finishing in the top 10 in the first two races. The defending winner of this race is Alex Bowman, who also drives a Chevy.

RELATED: Las Vegas odds | Latest Power Rankings

Racing Insights’ original pick to win Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) was Denny Hamlin, in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, based on his strong history on 1.5-mile tracks in the Next Gen Car. However, there was a lot of news to unpack this weekend at Las Vegas, as well as a round of practice and qualifying on Saturday, and that has produced our first big changes of the season for Sunday’s updated projections in Advance to Victory Lane, sponsored by Advance Auto Parts.

First the big news, and that was of course the announcement by Hendrick Motorsports that Chase Elliott won’t race Sunday and is out indefinitely after breaking his left leg in a snowboarding accident. Josh Berry, a regular for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will fill in for Elliott on Sunday, and he is reflected in the updated projections.

Also, Hendrick teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron vaulted to the top of the projections thanks in large part to unloading with fast cars this weekend and showing that speed in practice and qualifying. Meanwhile, Hamlin and Chastain are still projected to be in contention for the race win.

DENNY HAMLIN: He earned 237 points on 1.5-mile tracks last season, third to Ross Chastain (296) and Kyle Larson (261).

KYLE LARSON: He has finished in the top 10 in eight of his last 10 starts at Las Vegas.

ROSS CHASTAIN: He finished in the top three in both Las Vegas races in 2022.

The complete set of factors in Racing Insights’ advanced statistical formula includes current track, current track type, recent performance, team data and pit-crew data to arrive at a winner and full race results. So without further ado, here are the full updated projected race results for Sunday.

Projections as of Sunday, March 5


Finish Car No. Driver
1 5 Kyle Larson
2 24 William Byron
3 1 Ross Chastain
4 11 Denny Hamlin
5 12 Ryan Blaney
6 22 Joey Logano
7 8 Kyle Busch
8 4 Kevin Harvick
9 20 Christopher Bell
10 19 Martin Truex Jr.
11 6 Brad Keselowski
12 16 AJ Allmendinger
13 48 Alex Bowman
14 17 Chris Buescher
15 14 Chase Briscoe
16 45 Tyler Reddick
17 54 Ty Gibbs
18 99 Daniel Suárez
19 2 Austin Cindric
20 23 Bubba Wallace
21 43 Erik Jones
22 3 Austin Dillon
23 10 Aric Almirola
24 34 Michael McDowell
25 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
26 42 Noah Gragson
27 31 Justin Haley
28 7 Corey LaJoie
29 41 Ryan Preece
30 9 Josh Berry
31 21 Harrison Burton
32 38 Todd Gilliland
33 77 Ty Dillon
34 51 Cody Ware
35 15 J.J. Yeley
36 78 BJ McLeod