Sunday, March 26, 2017

Larson Continues Strong Season, Wins Auto Club 400

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kyle Larson dominated the Auto Club 400 on his way to victory lane on Sunday at the Auto Club Speedway.

Larson has been strong to begin the season, with three-straight second-place finishes leading up to Sunday’s Auto Club 400.  Larson said he was happy to finally get to victory lane.
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“We’ve been so good all year long and three seconds in a row,” Larson said.  “I’ve been watching all the TV, ‘he doesn’t know how to win;’ we knew how to win today so it’s good.”

Larson led 110 laps, but he still had to survive a wave of cautions over the final 50 laps.  Larson said he tried to manage his frustration in the closing laps.

“I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time,” Larson said.  “Seems like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, a caution comes out and I’ve got to fight people off on restarts.”

Martin Truex Jr. seemed to be Larson’s only competition throughout the day.  Truex won the second segment and looked like a threat to win, but a late pit road mistake cost him a shot at the victory.

“Sucks when you have to play defense at the end of these things,” Truex said.  “Just stumbled a little bit there at the end when it mattered.”

Truex, who led 73 laps, said he thought he and Larson’s cars were evenly-matched for most of the race.

“I thought we had as good a car as Larson at times, sometimes better,” Truex said.  “Just really seemed like whoever got out front had a little advantage.”

Unofficial results:
1. Kyle Larson
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Joey Logano
6. Jamie McMurray
7. Daniel Suarez
8. Kyle Busch
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Chase Elliott
11. Austin Dillon
12. Erik Jones
13. Kevin Harvick
14. Denny Hamlin
15. Ryan Newman
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
17. AJ Allmendinger
18. Ty Dillon
19. Aric Almirola
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Jimmie Johnson
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Trevor Bayne
24. Kurt Busch
25. Chris Buescher
26. Danica Patrick
27. Landon Cassill
28. Paul Menard
29. Matt DiBenedetto
30. Corey LaJoie
31. David Ragan
32. Cole Whitt
33. Michael McDowell
34. Reed Sorenson
35. Timmy Hill
36. Matt Kenseth
37. Gray Gaulding
38. Derrike Cope
39. Jeffrey Earnhardt

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