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Las Vegas winners and losers

Martin Truex Jr. says his win at Las Vegas "takes the pressure off for sure" and after his first victory in 10 races, he says the No. 19 team is free to go after more playoff points over the next two races.


Martin Truex Jr. – A series-high fifth win for the No. 19 Toyota, which was the best on long runs. Despite his slump late in the regular season, Truex said he had a good feeling about the playoffs. He was right Sunday.

Hendrick Motorsports – For the fourth consecutive season, its Chevrolets again seemed faster as the playoffs began – notably Chase Elliott’s No. 9 and Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 as the highest non-playoff car in 11th.

Brad Keselowski -- Battles back to third after struggling to stay in top 20 for the first two stages.

The heat – Score one for Mother Nature again as moving the start time four hours later still resulted in temperatures over 100. Maybe starting a few weeks later next year will provide relief.


Clint Bowyer – The promise of the pole position faded in a familiar struggle to amass stage points, and the late green flag pit stop for a tire rub just made things worse.

Kurt Busch – Qualified and ran well, but Lady Luck never has been kind to the Las Vegas native at his hometown track.

Erik Jones – For the second consecutive season, he is in a massive hole after the opener; will be tough to escape first round without a win at Richmond or the Roval.