Kyle Larson scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Larson led the way two different times for a total of 41 laps.
“I was teared-up that whole last few laps because I could just feel it,” Larson said after the race. “It was finally going to be it. This one is for the Clauson family. We really miss Bryan. We love you guys. We’re going to miss him. We parked it for him, so that’s really cool. We had a lot of work to do for that first third of the race, and got it done. Thanks to Target. Thanks to everyone on this team. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the pit crew and everybody. We messed up that last stop by we made it back.”
The win by Larson today afternoon completes a weekend sweep by the young stars of NASCAR. Brett Moffitt scored his first career Camping World Truck Series win yesterday afternoon at Michigan. Shortly after Moffitt’s win, Michael McDowell added his name to the win column after taking the checkered flag in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race at Road America. Larson will earn a spot into the Sprint Cup Series Chase with two races remaining until the cutoff at Richmond.
“Well, he hung in there with our team. We were building,” said owner Chip Ganassi. “We’ve been building over the years. He came on board and did a great job. The team rallied around him. I can’t say enough about the kid and the job he’s done over the last few years and it’s been a nice gradual coming-up through the pack. And I couldn’t be more happy with Kyle right now.”
Larson will leave the two-mile Michigan International Speedway with five top five and eight top 10 finishes through 24 races in 2016. The California native started the afternoon in 12th.
Chase Elliott finished in the runner-up spot behind the wheel of his No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Elliott started the Pure Michigan 400 in fifth and led the field four times for a total of 31 laps. The Georgia native will leave the two-mile oval with his best career Sprint Cup Series finish.
“Once that guy (Kyle Larson) got out front it was really hard to pass,” said Elliott after the race. “My guys did such a good job today of making the most of pit road. That was the only place you could make a large sum of ground in a short period of time. They did exactly what I asked them to do. I said ‘you guys are going to have to bail me out here I messed up.’ They did they got us the lead just like I asked and I gave it away again. It’s one of those things where you do or you don’t and I didn’t. You just got to recognize your mistakes, look at the positives I guess and move on down the road.”
Elliott will go into Darlington Raceway looking to capture his first Sprint Cup Series win. He holds seven top five and 12 top 10 finishes through 24 races this year. The 20-year old started on the pole twice in 2016.
Veteran Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski rounded out the top three finishers. Keselowski, racing in his home state, scored his 11th top five and 15th top 10 finish of the season. The 2012 champion sits comfortably in the Chase with four victories.
Pole sitter Joey Logano will take home a 10th place finish in his No. 22 Shell/Penzoil Ford. Logano led the field two different times for 24 laps. The 10th place finish will give him his 11th career top 10 at Michigan.
There have been 13 race winners in 2016 with Larson being the latest one. Should Buescher get inside the top 30 in points – there are only three spots available to get in via points. Those spots are currently held by Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray with two races left until the cutoff.
The next race for the Sprint Cup Series will be next Sunday at Darlington Raceway. Coverage will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET. on NBC. The Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM Channel 90 will have the radio broadcast.