California’s Kyle Larson Wins Second Career Cup Series Race In Overtime At Auto Club Speedwayby Hunter Thomas March 26, 2017 0 comments
FONTANA, Calif. – Kyle Larson backed Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series win up with a victory in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday.
Larson started on the pole in his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Target Chevrolet, and he led a race high of 110 laps en route to his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. A late-race caution on lap 198 set the field up for a NASCAR Overtime finish. Larson was able to hold off the field, and the California native became the fourth driver in history to sweep a weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Out of the five races this season, Larson has finished within the top-two in four of the races. Larson now leads Chase Elliott by 29 points in the championship standings.
“I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time,” Larson said. “It seems like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, the caution comes out and I’ve got to fight people off on restarts. Our Target Chevy was amazing all day. We were able to lead a lot of laps today. (Martin) Truex was better than us that second stage by quite a bit. We were able to get the jump on him the following restart and led pretty much the rest of the distance. I had to fight them off there after the green flag stops and that was a lot of fun.”
Finishing second on Sunday was Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski. The driver of the No. 2 Wurth Ford brought out the first caution of the afternoon on lap 5, when contact from Jimmie Johnson sent him through the frontstretch grass. Keselowski was able to rebound and capture his fourth top-10 of the season.
“We were tore all to hell,” Keselowski said. “It’s unfortunate. Got tore up there real early in the race and went all the way to the back. We clawed all the way back up to second. I don’t know if we had anything for Kyle and those guys. The car was tore up pretty bad, so to get that kind of finish is respectable. Certainly, we want to win. I felt like we had a shot to do just that, but it didn’t come together.”
Clint Bowyer finished third and captured his first top-five while competing for Stewart-Haas Racing. The driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford started the race in the 17th position. The third-place finish marked Bowyer’s eighth at the speedway.
“It was just a good weekend,” Bowyer said. “I appreciate everybody’s hard work at Stewart-Haas Racing. Having these teammates and having this group behind you, the organization and the teamwork, it’s just amazing to be a part of it at this point in my career.”
Martin Truex Jr. who led 73 laps finished fourth. Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Jamie McMurray finished sixth, followed by Daniel Suarez in seventh. Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott completed the top-10.
During the Auto Club 400, there were 17 lead changes among eight drivers. There were also seven cautions throughout the 202-lap race.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will visit Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 2 for the STP 500, the first short track race of the 2017 season. Live coverage can be found on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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