Kevin Harvick will start on the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Pennzoil 400, the fourth race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Harvick is a two-time winner at LVMS and is second in the Cup Series driver points standings, heading into Sunday’s race.
“Homestead is a very unique track, so you have to be careful on what information you take from there to Las Vegas,” Harvick said. “The two tracks are completely different, and with the short turnaround time, our team has already prepared the car for Las Vegas. Beside a few small tweaks, maybe, here and there, our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang is good to go.”
The starting grid for the LVMS race was determined by a formula that includes car owner points and the fastest laps and finishing order of the previous race at Homestead-Miami Speedway a week earlier. Byron, who won the Homestead race, will start next to Harvock on the front row at Las Vegas.
“We can be more aggressive now,” Byron said. “At the same time, we know what it takes to win and be successful, so we don’t have to do anything much different, either. We can be a little more aggressive with the calls on pit road and the strategy calls to get track position and hold it. I feel like, at Las Vegas, we can be strong. We just need to go there and execute similarly to how we did last weekend in Homestead.”
All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers garnered top-10 starting positions for Sunday’s race. In addition to Byron’s front-row starting spot, teammate Kyle Larson will start third, reigning series champion Chase Elliott in eighth and Alex Bowman in ninth.
“I’m excited to get to Las Vegas; it’s a track that has suited my driving style in the past,” Larson said. “It’s usually pretty warm, so the track gets slick and slower. You can move around and even run the top, and you can position your car in certain ways to get through the bumps in turns one and two. A key to running well is being able to move around and adjust your line throughout the race. Hopefully, we can go there and get a win. I have been close a few times. Now that I’m driving for Hendrick Motorsports, I’m interested to see if the car drives differently, especially over the bumps in [turns] one and two.”
Larson will share the second row of the starting grid with Martin Truex Jr.
Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell will line up in the third row, next to driver points leader Denny Hamlin.
“Our team is continuing to work each week to improve,” Hamlin said. “I’m happy with our performance this season, but we still have a lot of work to do and a lot more challenges coming our way. We’ll be ready to get back at it this weekend in Las Vegas and, hopefully, take home the checkered flag.”
Other top-10 starters include most recent LVMS race winner and Las Vegas native Kurt Busch in seventh and three-time Las Vegas winner Brad Keselowski in 10th.
PENNZOIL 400 STARTING GRID