The NASCAR XFINITY Series always bills itself as the future of NASCAR, but the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday was a more direct view of what fans can expect in the Cup Series as it heads into the next decade.
But just the fact that they come back in September - for the opening race of their playoffs - has them thinking the Pennzoil 400 will mean more Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox) than in past years when the March stop was the only one of the year on the 1.5-mile oval.
"There was a lot of action from where I was at", Sauter said.
"I still felt like we had a pretty good race auto".
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed to pay LVMS owner Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Larson prevailed in the stage that mattered most, the final one, claiming his first victory in any series at Las Vegas.
Larson is already a Cup Series contender, winning multiple races in 2017 and expected to do the same in 2018, and is only 25. It wasn't until Harvick would win later in the year at Texas Motor Speedway (a 32-race span) that a Ford driver would revisit the winner's circle. He also finished in the top-five last week at Atlanta.
Later this Spring, the track will host its annual daytime cup race, the Food City 500, and will continue to partner with Bass Pro Shops and the NRA for its August 18 race under the lights.
"You kind of show your strength here", said Ryan Blaney, who put his Team Penske Ford on the pole during qualifying Friday. Still, if we're headed to the Championship 4 in, say 2021 and Larson, Blaney and Bell are all a part of it, we won't be surprised - and we can point to this one Saturday in Las Vegas and say we got a preview of it. "They did such a good job of trying to make up for it and figure out how to set the air pressure". And throughout his wins at both Atlanta and Las Vegas, Harvick led a combined 395 laps.
"It's hard to pass for the lead with nobody else around you, and I couldn't get a big enough run to get to the lead".
Kevin Harvick has easily won the first stage of the NASCAR race in Las Vegas.
"Atlanta you get somewhat of an idea, but it's a little different because the track is so worn out and the driving style is different", Larson said.
"But to come here and have a good run would definitely be a good confidence booster as something you could look forward to to start the playoffs".