And the winner is:
Brad Keselowski, Paul Wolfe and the entire Team Penske No. 2 car team.
OK, so it was a fuel-mileage win, but it was a win nonetheless for the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, who did not make the Chase field last year. Sunday’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) essentially locks him into the Chase. This was his first Cup win of the year and his 11th in 164 races.
Runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted in the post-race press conference that his team members knew they would likely be short on fuel. They gambled...and lost.
Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a bellwether for each team's 1.5-mile track setup. New rules, which made substantial changes to the race cars for the 1.5-mile tracks, were in place for the first time at LVMS. On Thursday of race weekend, a day which is normally reserved for travel, all teams had a test day so that they could get one more opportunity to try out their 1.5-mile track setups.
On race day, several teams were on target or very close. A handful of big names, including Tony Stewart, were not.
Keselowski swept both the Nationwide and Cup races on the same weekend. It had not been done here since Jeff Burton did it in 2000.
*All quotes in this slideshow are taken from official team and manufacturer media releases unless otherwise stated.