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Tyler Reddick parlays fuel strategy into Xfinity Series win

It was all Christopher Bell, almost all the time during Saturday’s Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

And then it was Tyler Reddick’s time to conserve fuel.

The reigning Xfinity Series champion made a 70-lap green flag run during the final race stage and held on for a narrow victory over the hard-charging Bell, who led 154 of the 200 laps and 88 of the first 90. But Reddick led the laps that counted, parlaying alternate strategy into a win by .738 of a second in the regular-season finale.

“The last few laps I started losing fuel pressure — I didn’t think I was going to make it running the top of the fence,” said the Richard Childress Racing driver about coasting along the wall to conserve fuel and hold off Bell, who yielded the lead when he pitted with 30 laps to go. “Christopher Bell had an unreal fast racecar today.”

It was the 23-year-old Reddick’s fifth victory of 2019 and his eighth in 77 Xfinity starts. Brandon Jones, polesitter Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five, with Las Vegas’ Noah Gragson finishing sixth, the last car on the lead lap. Gragson started 36th in the 38-car field after slapping the wall on his qualifying run.

It was a good day for young Las Vegas drivers, as Riley Herbst steered a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to a ninth-place finish after starting 15th.

Cooler heads prevail

With the South Point 400 moving to late September in 2020, spectators finally may be able to beat the heat.

Next year’s LVMS playoff race is scheduled for Sept. 27, when the average high temperature in Las Vegas is 89 degrees compared with 93 on Sept. 15. (The projected high Sunday is 101 degrees.) Next year’s race will retain the 4:15 p.m. starting time.

The 2020 South Point 400 will open the second playoff round instead of the first, meaning playoff media day will not be held. But LVMS officials said Burnout Blvd. on the Strip most likely would return, only with 12 cars and drivers instead of 16.

No more shrinkage

Las Vegas Motor Speedway got a little more quaint before South Point 400 weekend with the removal of additional seats.

Spectator capacity at LVMS was estimated at 140,000 during NASCAR’s halcyon days in the early 2000s. It was reduced from around 80,000 for the Cup Series race in March to an estimated 70,000 by swapping out more rows of seats on the frontstretch and replacing them with food and beverage holders.

There should be no further reductions. Speedway officials believe LVMS’ current capacity is ideal given the current economics of NASCAR.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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