Kyle Larson showed his dominance in practice and qualifying prior to Saturday’s “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series race, and then he drove his No. 42 Chevrolet to victory lane.
Kyle Larson showed his dominance in practice and qualifying prior to Saturday’s “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race.
After starting on the pole, Larson proved his worth during the race as well, as he took his No. 42 Chevrolet to victory lane, earning his first win at Dover International Speedway, his third XFINITY Series victory of the season and the eighth of his career.
“It’s really cool to win [the Miles the Monster Trophy],” said Larson, who led a commanding 137 laps. “This is one of those recognizable trophies on our circuit, so to win here is special. I’ve had some good runs here in the past, but I’ve had some average runs, so I knew our car was going to be really good as soon as we unloaded it.”
Larson’s crew chief Mike Shiplett said the potential of having a caution come out in the closing laps of the final stage was the most concerning aspect of the race.
“We had a good long run car, but we were struggling a little bit on the short runs,” Shiplett said. “So just getting able to start running — [the end run] was the longest run of the day. I think before that we only went like 20 [green] laps, so you really can’t tell what the car is capable of doing at that point.”
In the fourth and final Dash 4 Cash race of 2017, William Byron beat out Brennan Poole, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and points leader Elliott Sadler to take the $100,000 prize for NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars.
“It’s definitely a good thing for our race team,” Byron said. “Good run for us. We needed that, so just really proud of all the guys on the JRM team and hopefully this is something we can keep building on. I think we’re able to keep building on this and hopefully get better for Pocono.”
Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, rookie Cole Custer and Ryan Reed, who bounced back from an early wreck in the first stage, completed the top 5 finishers.
Defending spring Dover champion Erik Jones’ No. 20 Reeser’s American Classic Toyota suffered engine trouble in the second stage, ending his day early.
The Monster Mile was treacherous Saturday as the caution flag waved 10 times, including five times in the first 62 laps.
Larson dominated the opening stage and held off a hard-charging Blaney at the end to lead all 60 laps of the first segment.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Daniel Suarez and Matt Tifft were running in the top 5 before enduring tire issues in the first stage. The two teammates rebounded as Suarez recorded a top-5 finish, while Tifft finished ninth.
When the second stage began, Larson quickly grabbed the lead back from Austin Dillon, who did not pit after the first stage, before Blaney took command at Lap 88.
Following a restart with less than 10 laps left in the second stage, Wallace passed Blaney and held on from there to earn his second stage victory of the season.
Ten drivers stayed on the track following the second stage, while others pitted, shuffling the field before the 80-lap final stage sprint.
Reed and Suarez both led early laps in the final stage, before Larson took control again, leading the race’s final 53 laps on his way to the checkered flag.
Larson will look to make a weekend sweep Sunday as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take to the track for the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” at 1 p.m. Larson swept the XFINITY and Cup races at Fontana back in March.
“To get a second sweep this early in the season would be cool,” he said. “[Sunday] will be an extremely tough race.”