The 2023 fall Las Vegas lead change review has 20 lead changes — including 9 green-flag passes, although one of those is a little suspect — and an epic battle between Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell. Read on for details.
The 2023 fall Las Vegas lead change review starts with the caution-/lead-o-gram graphs and I swear I did not pick the colors just because Halloween is nearing.
The 2024 fall Las Vegas race featured a total of seven cautions:
- 3 tire issues
- 2 stage-end cautions
- 1 wheel falling off
- 1 spin
That makes a total of five unplanned cautions in this race, compared with a total of two in the spring race. The spring race also had two stage-end cautions.
This weekend found a lot of drivers suffering from tire issues: Chase Elliott and Daniel Suárez crashed in practice due to right-rear-tire issues. Larson suspect a similar problem and come in before it blew. During the race, both Legacy Motorclub drivers and the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 of William Byron had suspected right rear blowouts. All are likely to due to overaggressive setups.
All Chevys, incidentally.
The No. 54 of Ty Gibbs had a right front wheel come off. I really wish broadcasters would differentiate between a tire blowing and a wheel coming off because they are really two different things. The No. 54 and Bell’s No. 20 pit crew switched for the playoffs. Although Bell has had some issues in the playoffs, he hasn’t had a wheel come off.
In spring, the Las Vegas race saw 13 lead changes. This race gave us 20 lead changes, which break down as follows:
- 9 green-flag passes
- 6 lead taken on pit road
- 2 leads inherited during yellow-flag pit stops
- 2 leads taken on restarts
- 1 lead inherited during green-flag pit stops
A total of seven drivers led during the fall 2023 Las Vegas race, but two of them — Martin Truex Jr. and J.J. Yeley only led unearned laps. I use ‘unearned’ to indicate lead changes that happen because someone else does something. When the leader pits and the driver in P2 takes the lead, that’s unearned.
You can see the ‘unearned’ laps more clearly in the table below. Sorry it’s a little messy. Still figuring out a simple way of presenting the data.
Lead Change Details
The table below shows each of the lead changes. Note that Bell and Brad Keselowski got the most out of pit stops. With Larson having such a fast car, that was one way for drivers to get an advantage. Both drivers also made green-flag passes, though.
I want to call your attention to the last two lead changes. This is one of those odd things with the NASCAR rules. Larson was the control car on the restart, but Keselowski beat him to the start/finish line.
Technically, Keselowski led the lap, but he really only led from the restart zone to the start/finish line. Larson passed him shortly after. So maybe we should count that as one fewer restart lead change and one fewer green flag.
Even if we do toss out that last green-flag pass by Larson, there were still eight green-flag passes, which is really good. There were three green-flag passes in the spring race and the rest of the lead changes were mostly inherited during green-flag pit stops.
The end of the race provided a really good battle between Bell and Larson. A few more laps in the race and we might have had a swap for the lead. Bell never caught Larson, but he ran a valiant — clean — race.
Larson’s in the Championship 4 and the series moves on to Homestead for next week.
That’s your 2023 fall Las Vegas lead change review.