Sunday, August 28, 2016

Larson Picks Up First Career Victory at Michigan, Clinches Chase Spot

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kyle Larson won his first career Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway.

Larson’s first victory helped him clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.  Larson said he thought his chances to make it were over after a last-lap crash at Watkins Glen.

“After AJ [Allmendinger] got into us, I thought we were done at Watkins Glen,” Larson said.

Larson and Chase Elliott were the class of the field over the final half of the race, and it came down to the final restart.  Both Larson and Elliott spun their tires, but Larson was able to get ahead and cruise to victory.

“We both spun our tires really bad, and the 2 [of Brad Keselowski] pushed me really good,” Larson said.  “He probably could have gone underneath me, but he stayed with me and got me to the lead.”

Elliott finished second at Michigan for the second time this season, and he said his mistake on the restart was too much to overcome.

“I had two opportunities to get out front there and take control of the race, but I let Kyle get a better start on me and I spun the tires,” Elliott said.  “Just made another mistake…and didn’t do my job right.”

Unofficial results:
1. Kyle Larson
2. Chase Elliott
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Ryan Blaney
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Carl Edwards
8. Jamie McMurray
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Joey Logano
11. Greg Biffle
12. Kurt Busch
13. Matt Kenseth
14. Kasey Kahne
15. AJ Allmendinger
16. Austin Dillon
17. Ryan Newman
18. Paul Menard
19. Kyle Busch
20. Martin Truex Jr.
21. Tony Stewart
22. Casey Mears
23. Danica Patrick
24. Trevor Bayne
25. Aric Almirola
26. Regan Smith
27. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
28. Brian Scott
29. David Ragan
30. Alex Bowman
31. Michael McDowell
32. Matt DiBenedetto
33. Michael Annett
34. Cole Whitt
35. Chris Buescher
36. Reed Sorenson
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt
38. Josh Wise
39. Landon Cassill
40. Clint Bowyer

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