Las Vegas winners and losers

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Winners

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.

Losers

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 BuschQualified 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.