Kyle Larson ended a 75-race winless streak when he took the checkered flag in Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway to advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever been around cutting the bottom here,” Larson said. “Just a great combination here. Good to be fast in practice and then be good again in the race and get the win.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver last won a Cup Series race at Richmond in September of 2017. He was able to out-distance Martin Truex Jr. Sunday to finally get back to Victory Lane.
“Just awesome to get a win and not have to worry about Talladega next week,” Larson said. “I don’t like that place. It’s pretty neat to do what we did today, pit crew did a great job to get us out first and give us control of the race.”
Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer completed the first 10 finishers.
There were only eight cars on the lead lap in a race that had three cautions with two for stage breaks.
Hamlin and Truex Jr. won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Larson Won: He led 154 of the 400 laps on Sunday and the key was once he got out front Larson was able to work his way through lapped traffic. Slower cars were a challenge for Truex Jr. as he tried to run down Larson in the closing laps. Larson maintained his advantage by getting through that traffic and maintaining the top spot until the checkered flag flew.
Who Had a Good Day: Truex Jr. has finished top-two in three of the four playoff races in 2019 and top four in six of the last seven races at Dover…Bowman finished top-three in both Dover starts this year and top 10 in three of the four playoff races…Harvick finished top 10 in the last six races of 2019 and the last four at Dover…Hamlin made his 500th start and led 218 laps, the fifth most he has led in his career.
Who Had a Bad Day: Joey Logano’s day began in disaster when a rear axle problem sent him to pit road and the garage before the race even began. The defending series champion is now suddenly thrown into catch-up mode…Just laps after Logano’s issues, Chase Elliott saw his chance of winning go up in smoke literally with an engine problem (Read More)…Ryan Blaney was yet another playoff contender with challenges as the Team Penske driver suffered brake problems to fall multiple laps off the pace…Chris Buescher left the race in the second stage with a broken crankshaft.
What Else Happened: High speeds and added downforce created a day that challenged drivers in the passing department. Pit road became an even more vital element of the race as a place to gain positions on stops while other drivers were forced to come from behind after numerous speeding penalties were assessed including to a handful of Playoff contenders.
Quotable: “Not must win, but must do good,” Joey Logano about what he has to do at Talladega next week.
Notables: This is the first time Larson has made it to the Round of 8 in his career…It was the 18th career win for Chip Ganassi Racing…Harvick made his 676th career start, tying Dale Earnhardt in career starts.