For the first time in this Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the most dominant car of the day took the checkered flag at the end of the race. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson survived a number of late-race restarts to take the win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California Sunday, winning his home race and extending his driver’s championship lead over Chase Elliott to 29 points.
Larson pitted from the lead for tires under yellow on Lap 193 but took the lead again on Lap 197 following another restart. A final yellow flag then came out, bringing out an overtime session that quickly saw the No. 42 Chevrolet SS driver pull out a sizeable lead over Team Penkse’s Brad Keselowski, who crossed the finish line .779 seconds behind Larson.
“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,” Larson told NASCAR.com post-race. “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.”
Larson led a race high 110 laps on his way to his second ever Cup Series win – his first coming at Michigan Motor Speedway in 2016. The 24-year old also won Saturday’s XFinity Series Race from Fontana, making for his first-ever sweep of a NASCAR race weekend. As he so eloquently put it: “It’s good to be Kyle Larson right now.”