Kyle Larson continued his dominance in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. Winner of the last two previous cup races coming into the annual exhibition race, Larson led the field for 17 circuits to win his second career All-Star event.
“Honestly, I can’t believe it,” said winner Kyle Larson. “That second run there, we were really bad and I was like, ‘man, we’re in trouble’. I went backwards that round, so I was like we’ve got an uphill battle. I did not imagine seeing myself winning this race today. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody works so hard on this thing and made some good adjustments throughout the first, second and third rounds and got us in position.”
The event featured a format of six rounds comprising random inverts, a pit crew challenge and more. It also featured an open race earlier in the day at Texas that allowed three opportunities for three drivers not locked into the All-Star Race to earn a starting spot into the race, plus a fan-vote winner.
Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick and Aric Almirola advanced their way into the All-Star race via winning a segment in the open race. Matt DiBendetto won the fan-vote making up the field of 21 drivers.
Brad Keselowski gave Larson chase in the last laps of the race, falling 0.206-seconds short of winning the $1,000,000 dollar payout. The driver from Michigan, leading just five circuits of the race, tied his previous best finish in the event by placing second.
“It feels like running second to the Hendrick cars right now is an accomplishment. They are just stupid fast, said Keselowski after tying his 2016 finish. “I had him off turn 4 but they just have so much speed. He just motored right back by me, like damn! It feels like a first-in-class day with the Discount Tired Ford. The team did a great job of executing and getting us in position, we just didn’t have enough speed to make the most of it. It was good execution day though and I am proud of that.”
The final restart worked out exactly how Larson needed it with 10 laps to go.
“That last restart worked out exactly how I needed it to. I wanted Chase (Elliott) to not get a good run down the back,” said Larson on the final restart to begin Round 6. “Thankfully, I think the No. 12 (Ryan Blaney) got to his inside. I just shoved him down the back and he probably thought I was going to just follow him. I thought there had to be enough grip above where we’d been running for one corner. It was a little slick up there, but I was able to get it and hold him off from there.”
Chase Elliott, winner of the pit crew challenge and leader of 12 laps, placed third.
Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five finishers.
Alex Bowman, William Byron, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch took home top 10 finishes.
Two yellow flags resulted in cautions throughout the 100-lap feature. Erik Jones brought out the yellow by spinning in turn two on the opening lap of the race. Jones continued on, later finishing 11th.
Ross Chastain and Ryan Newman tangled in turn two on lap 79. Like Jones, Newman and Chastain both continued. Newman later took his No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford to a 20th-place finish while Chastain finished 18th in his No. 42 Chevrolet.
The series will resume on June 20th for an inaugural event at Nashville Superspeedway. The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET. live on NBCSN.