'Never seen anything like that,' NASCAR crew chief says of what happened in Las Vegas race

A large trash bag that covered the grille of William Byron’s car in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway left a surprise in the car’s air filter.

A beer can.

Trash blew on to the track as wind gusts of up to 50 mph were recorded Sunday in Las Vegas.

Byron had to pit on Lap 47 of the 267-lap race to remove the trash bag from the front of the car after the engine began to overheat.

AUTO: MAR 03 NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
AUTO: MAR 03 NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Winners, losers after Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Kyle Larson wasn’t the only one happy after the Las Vegas race.

“The thing was like a 55-gallon trash bag, you know, for those big trash cans you see at the infield of the racetracks,” crew chief Rudy Fugle said Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It got loose.

“Even worse than that, or even funnier than that, I’m pretty positive it had a beer can in it because that beer can got stuck in our air filter. So after the race, there was a Silver Bullet in our air filter somehow.

“Never seen anything like that before ... so quite the day.”

Byron, who won the Daytona 500 last month, led 14 of the first 30 laps before pitting under caution Sunday. He was running 10th on Lap 41 before he began to lose positions and had to pit with the trash bag covering much of the front grille. The bag prevented air from getting to the engine to cool it.

“I hate that it didn’t give us a chance to show, really, how strong a car, I think, we could have had all day long,” Fugle said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “You leave there with a couple of questions. We fought all day and got up there toward the top 10, but we slid through the (pit) box on the last green flag stop and lost some spots and then just weren’t as good on the restarts as we needed to be."

Byron finished 10th. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson won the race.

So what happened to the trash bag?

“I think one of the sponsors that were there, they had the bag and they were pretty disappointed, obviously, because we were leading and doing so well," Fugle said. "I seen them after the race with it. So, I’m like, ‘OK, that’s a souvenir for him.’"