The Pennzoil 400 Kicks Off The NASCAR Cup Series’ March Schedule

Edie Carneiro, Copy Editor

On March 2, the Pennzoil 400 race occurred at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, jump-starting NASCAR’s March schedule.

Fan-favorite William Byron came in first place with 60 points, Kyle Larson came in second with 53 points and Alex Bowman came in third with 46 points, with all three driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron’s win was partially attributed to an overtime restart advantage he had defeated Larson for in the previous round. However, despite this late advantage, Miami Palmetto Senior High junior and lifelong NASCAR fan Sebastian Font predicted the outcome far before the race was over. Nonetheless, the ending brought him excitement.

“The race was pretty stale, as Byron was clearly [driving] the fastest car, but it got interesting with the late caution,” Font said.

Numerous fans support Byron not only because of his car’s quality or impressive skill but also because he began his sport through a very common interest: gaming. More specifically, Byron became interested in driving competitively through the popular simulator “iRacing.”

“I know Byron, and I think it’s great when he wins considering he got interested in the sport through video games,” Font said.

This race, covering a total of about 400.5 miles, is made up of 267 laps split into two 80-lap stages and one 107-lap stage. Known by many previous names such as UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, the Shelby American and the Kobalt 400, this annual race has been hosted by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway since its inception in 1998. 

“Just like every race in the season, [the Pennzoil 400] is important,” Font said. “A singular win can put a driver into the playoffs.”

MPSH senior and childhood NASCAR fan Valentina Nicolini agrees with Font, as she believes the first races of the series are often the most memorable.

“I think in any kind of racing, or any sport, the opening [races] are the staple ones and the most iconic,” Nicolini said. “They’re really cool to watch.”

For Byron, this victory was especially significant since his teammate, Chase Elliot, broke his left tibia in a snowboarding accident, and was forced to watch from North Carolina. Elliot is expected to miss multiple races in the coming weeks to prioritize his recovery from surgery. With this delay, fans can only have faith that Elliot will recover quickly and easily.

“It’s very sad that Elliot is injured for a few weeks, as he is the face of the sport,” Font said. “But he will come back and be as good as before.”