In Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400, Kyle Larson held off Chase Elliott with five laps remaining and raced to his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season.
It was the third Cup win of Larson’s career, and second in a row at Michigan. Larson and Elliott had also finished 1st and 2nd place at MIS in August. Elliott was second in both Michigan races last year, and again this time.
On Sunday, with a strong push from Ryan Blaney in the bottom lane during a restart on Lap 186 of 200, pole sitter Larson cleared Kyle Busch for the lead through the first two corners and stayed out front the rest of the way, through two more quick cautions, to win for the third time in his career.
Larson got to the finish line .993 seconds ahead of Chase Elliott, who, like third-place finisher Joey Logano, felt he got the most out of his car.
Kyle Busch had a 1.4-second lead when NASCAR called a caution on Lap 180 because of debris in Turn 2. After Larson passed him for the lead on the Lap 186 restart, Busch ultimately faded to seventh at the finish, still searching for his first victory of the season.
Denny Hamlin restarted beside Larson on Lap 196 but lost the third-place battle to Logano. Jamie McMurray, Larson’s teammate, ran fifth. Martin Truex Jr. came home fifth despite leading 62 laps (second only to Larson’s 96) and was victimized by a succession of late-race restarts in the bottom lane.
Though TruexJr. won both the first and second 60-lap stages and increased his stash of playoff points to a series-leading 20, Larson regained the lead in championship points by five over Truex. Kyle Busch is 130 points back in third place.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson completed the top 10.