FONTANA, Calif.— Despite hitting the wall numerous times during the Service King 300, Kyle Larson scored the victory at Auto Club Speedway, holding off Joey Logano.
“That was a lot of fun. I wish that last caution wouldnt have come out because it would’ve been easier for me to win, I think. I honestly didn’t think we would be here yesterday,” Larson told Fox Sports 1 in victory lane.
This is Larson’s sixth victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is also his second victory at Auto Club.
The first stage was all about Logano, who led 31 of the 35 laps in the stage. The caution flew for a spin by Matt Tifft with five laps remaining in the stage. Everyone pitted, except for JJ Yeley. When the race restarted with one lap remaining in the stage, Yeley dropped back to 25th. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Elliott Sadler finished second, Larson finished third, Erik Jones inished fourth, and William Byron rounded out the top-five.
In the second stage, Larson quickly jumped to the lead for seven laps before getting passed by Busch, who used the side-draft. Busch would go on to dominate the second stage. Logano finished second, E. Jones’s finished third, Larson finished fourth, and Sadler finished fifth. Larson came off pit road behind Busch, but was caught speeding on pit road sending him to the tail end of the field to start the final stage.
As the third stage began, Busch quickly claimed the lead, but continued to be challenged by Logano. For Larson, he was working his way back towards the front following his speeding penalty. Despite a debris caution early in the stage, Logano and Busch battled for the lead. Logano was able to grab the lead using the side draft on Busch. However, when the caution fell for a hit by Paul Menard on the fronstretch, the race for the lead changed. Logano spent more time on pit road due to the car falling off the jack. On the restart, Busch chose the bottom lane, but didn’t get the momentum giving Larson the lead momentarily. When the caution flew for an accident involving Cole Custer, everyone but Busch pitted. Busch chose the inside lane on the restart. Logano was able to gain the lead with 32 laps remaining in the race. Busch began to fall back due to hitting the wall, moving Larson to second. Larson began to reel in Logano to reach his bumper with less than 20 laps remaining. Logano and Larson battled for the lead, but Larson hit the wall loosing momentum. When the momentum returned for Larson, he was able to pass Logano while hitting the wall and using the lapped car of David Starr. The caution flew with nine laps remaining. As the leaders hit pit road, Larson won the race off pit road as Spencer Gallagher came out second by taking only two tires. Larson chose the outside lane, which would ultimately be the move to win the race, putting Gallagher on the bottom in front of Logano. While Gallagher did not get a good start and Busch did not have the short run speed, Larson was able to set sail and win the race.
Logano finished second, Busch finished third, E. Jones finished fourth, and Byron rounded out the top-five. Darrell Wallace Jr. scored his fourth consecutive sixth place finish, Sadler finished seventh, Brennan Poole finished eighth, Justin Allgaier finished ninth, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-10.
The race was slowed seven times for 42 laps. The lead changed 18 times among six drivers. The margin of victory for Larson was 0.127 seconds.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is an off weekend before heading to Texas Motor Speedway on April 8th at 1:30 p.m. EST for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. FOX and Performance Racing Network will have the broadcast.