Kyle Larson dominated the field Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway leading 96 of 200 laps. The 24-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing driver won his second race of the season (the other was at Auto Club Speedway in California) at the same track he won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race last August. Both of Larson’s wins have come after starting from the pole position.
Kyle Busch was leading the field until he decided not to pit following a caution for debris with 21 laps remaining. That proved to be the wrong move as Larson was able to pass him with a powerful move going into the first turn a few laps later. From that point forward the race went through a series of cautions for wrecks until Larson was able to drive away from Chase Elliot on the final lap of the event.
Elliott’s second place finish marked the third straight finish in the runner-up spot at Michigan for the Hendrick Motorsport driver. Joey Logano finished third, with Denny Hamlin in fourth, and Jamie McMurray in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jimmie Johnson.
“We’ve been so close to so many other wins,” Larson said. “This is our second Cup win of the year, but we’ve had six second place finishes. All-in-all, it’s a good season so far and we’ll continue to keep building on what we’ve got.”
Martin Truex, Jr. won both of the race’s first two stages, giving him a series-leading 10 stages won for the season. Kyle Busch has the second most stages won this year with four.
With 48 laps remaining, Ryan Sieg spun-out on the track, bringing out the caution flag. That caution flag set the final stages of the race as Busch, rookie Erik Jones, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. all took only two tires, while the rest of the field took four. Truex found himself buried in the field back in ninth position before he could find a way to recover, leaving Larson, Elliot, and Ryan Blaney chasing Busch.
Busch was unable to hold the field off late in the race as they all had better tires. It marked the 11th race out of 15 this season in which Busch, who has yet to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this year, was out front for a good portion of the day, but failed to win.
“Ryan Blaney gave me a heck of a push,” Larson said. “So I’ve really got to thank him a ton. I knew the Penske cars took off good, so I was happy to see him behind me. For us to withstand a few restarts there with some tough competitors there was pretty important. I can’t thank these guys enough. It was cool to win it. What a great Father’s Day present for myself and all the other fathers out there. My dad is here today, too. So I’m looking forward to celebrating with him.”
[Featured Image by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images]