Larson Smokes Truex To Win At Michigan

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 13 2017

Kyle Larson puts on a smoke show after winning Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)


Kyle Larson made an aggressive move during an overtime restart, took the lead and went on to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

The win was the third straight for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver at the 2-mile MIS oval.

It came after a wreck with four laps to go – which started when Paul Menard lost control and sent Michael McDowell into the wall, bringing out a red flag – likely deprived then-leader Martin Truex Jr. of victory.

“I was running a few options through my head of what to do if I got a good jump, and that was one of them and it worked out perfect. I can’t believe that happened. We were struggling all day. We were definitely not as good as the last two times we won here, but we preserved and had a great restart at the end.”

Truex, who led a race-best 105 laps, finished second.

Of the final restart, he said, “I just tried to do something a little different there with (Kyle) Larson behind me, but when he hit me I went and I spun the tires. They just got too cold under that red flag and not enough time to get them warmed up. Our car generally took a few laps all day to get warm, but while we had enough caution laps I could kind of keep heat in the tires. Just spun them a bit and he got a run and there was no way he was going to go around me on the bottom with all that stuff down there and I just went into one and spun the tires because they were so cold. It’s one of those deals, sometimes these things don’t work out.”

Larson was in fourth-place and would restart for the final two-lap shootout behind leader Martin Truex Jr.

Larson hadn’t had a fast race car all day, but he thought with a bold move on the restart, he could steal a win. Ahead of him, Truex, the race leader, was in the opposite position. He had had a fast race car all day, and he figured he needed a strong restart to repel whatever move Larson or somebody else would throw at him. Like Larson, he was trying to figure out which scenario would be most likely to take him to Victory Lane.

As it turned out, Larson and Truex both drew up the same plan—they both wanted Larson to hit Truex on the restart. They just had different ideas about what would happen after that.

Truex hoped the contact would push him forward and to the victory, and briefly, that seemed possible. But Truex spun his tires, which played right into Larson’s strategy.

“I wanted to time it and get to his bumper and act like I was pushing him out to the lead and duck underneath him and get to his left-rear quarter and pull him back,” Larson said. “It’s crazy how when you get to someone’s left rear quarter how much it slows them down. It did just that.”

Larson bounced off of Truex as he passed him, and for a split second the race fanned out four wide. That never ends well—especially not on the penultimate lap when all four drivers are going for the win. But somehow they all stayed off each other, and afterward, rookie Erik Jones, one of those drivers, was at a loss to explain how. “I was pointed at the infield for half of (Turns) one and two,” said Jones, who finished third.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Pure Michigan 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Sunday, August 13, 2017

  1. (9) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 202.
  2. (13) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 202.
  3. (8) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 202.
  4. (25) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 202.
  5. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 202.
  6. (20) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 202.
  7. (17) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 202.
  8. (5) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 202.
  9. (7) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 202.
  10. (6) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 202.
  11. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, 202.
  12. (24) Aric Almirola, Ford, 202.
  13. (3) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 202.
  14. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 202.
  15. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 202.
  16. (10) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 202.
  17. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 202.
  18. (14) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 202.
  19. (22) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 202.
  20. (29) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 202.
  21. (33) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 202.
  22. (18) Danica Patrick, Ford, 202.
  23. (11) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 202.
  24. (4) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 202.
  25. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 200.
  26. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 200.
  27. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 200.
  28. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 200.
  29. (31) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 199.
  30. (28) David Ragan, Ford, 199.
  31. (34) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 199.
  32. (35) * Brett Moffitt(i), Toyota, 198.
  33. (38) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 197.
  34. (30) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Accident, 196.
  35. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 196.
  36. (39) * BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 178.
  37. (16) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, Accident, 138.
  38. (23) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, Accident, 138.
  39. (37) Derrike Cope, Toyota, Engine, 107.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  150.903 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 40 Mins, 38 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.310 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 28 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Keselowski 1-42; E. Jones # 43-46; B. Keselowski 47-63; D. Suarez # 64-66; B. Keselowski 67-110; Kyle Busch 111-113; M. Truex Jr. 114-127; B. Keselowski 128; M. Truex Jr. 129-159; E. Jones # 160; B. Keselowski 161; D. Hamlin 162-177; Kyle Busch 178-188; M. Truex Jr. 189-200; K. Larson 201-202.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  B. Keselowski 5 times for 105 laps; M. Truex Jr. 3 times for 57 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 16 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 14 laps; E. Jones # 2 times for 5 laps; D. Suarez # 1 time for 3 laps; K. Larson 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,4,24,78,77,22,20,18,42,11

Stage #2 Top Ten: 78,2,4,77,19,21,1,42,18,11

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 13 2017
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