BROOKLYN, Mich. – Three times, Kyle Larson needed to outrace the rest of the contenders on late restarts.
That’s a task he’s proven he can handle at Michigan International Speedway.
Larson took control on a restart with five laps remaining and held off Chase Elliott on Sunday for his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season. The finish was similar to the race at Michigan last August, when Larson took the lead on a restart with nine laps left en route to his first Cup win.
Larson won this year at Fontana and has five second-place finishes. He also was second in the All-Star race, which doesn’t count in the standings.
“We’ve been so close to so many other wins,” the 24-year-old 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.”
It was the third Cup win of Larson’s career and 14th by Chip Ganassi Racing. Elliott was second in both Michigan races last year, and again this time. He’s winless in 56 career Cup races, but he’s fifth in points in 2017.
“We had a couple of opportunities to get the lead, and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out, but we’ll move on. Congratulations to Kyle,” the 21-year-old Elliott said. “He had a fast car today and we’ll try to go get ’em next week.”
Joey Logano finished third. He beat Elliott in last June’s race at MIS. Then Elliott was leading the August race comfortably before a yellow flag gave Larson a boost.
This time, there were three cautions toward the end. The first was for debris, and Larson beat Kyle Busch on the inside for the lead on the restart with 15 laps to go.
Then Clint Bowyer went into the wall, bringing out another caution flag. Larson was first off that restart too, only to be slowed by another caution after a multicar incident on the backstretch that included Danica Patrick being knocked off the track and into the wall.
Finally, with five laps remaining, the race restarted, and Larson took the lead on the outside. He won by 0.993 seconds in his No. 42 Chevrolet.
Martin Truex Jr. won the first two stages of the race but finished sixth, ceding the points lead to Larson. Truex has 10 stage victories this year. Nobody else has more than four.