Kyle Larson ran the entire 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season without a win but he now has two in 2014. Larson scored his first career win at California in March and he backed that up Saturday with an impressive win at Charlotte in the History 300.
Though he now competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he also still competes in most of the Nationwide Series events. The 2014 season has been much better for Larson.
Larson led 82 laps en route to victory. Larson only led 102 laps for the entire 2013 season. Saturday’s win also gave him nine top-10 finishes in just ten starts.
“It was nice looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing them get smaller and smaller each lap. It’s not very often that you see the 22 and the 54 get smaller in your mirror. So it just shows how great of a car we had. The pit crew did an awesome job every stop we had. We had a great green-flag stop too, so hats off to everyone on the team for making this win possible,” Larson said.
Kyle Busch, who often seems unbeatable in the Nationwide Series, dominated practices, qualifying and the early portion of the race leading the first 25 laps. After an early yellow for a spin in turn two, Busch’s car just was not the same. When the No. 54 was in dirty air, the handling just wasn’t the same.
Busch was asked about the handling problem after the race, “Just been wrecking loose the whole race – just lucky to finish I guess. The Monster Energy Camry was okay – fell back to sixth or seventh at one point, but was able to rally back,” he said.
After Busch faded, Matt Kenseth took his turn out front. Kenseth was the car to beat for the next 55 laps until Brad Keselowski challenged him for the top spot. Keselowski was at the helm for a 21 lap stint, then came Larson.
Kenseth talked about how the handing of the car changed during the race, “I honestly have no idea. We were pretty comfortable and just got a little off. Then we just got real loose and not sure what happened or what we adjusted after that, but it seemed like we probably under-adjusted and the track got away from us.”
Larson put his No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet out front for the next 26 laps. A late race yellow gave veterans, Keselowski and Busch, a chance to catch Larson. Larson, however, was too strong. He held the lead and didn’t look back. Keselowski, when asked about Larson responded, “He had a fast car. That’s the reality of it. He had a fast car that was very versatile and could run the top and the bottom. That’s what you dream of as a driver.”
Keselowski ended up second, with Busch in third place. Kevin Harvick and Brian Scott rounded out the top-five.
Chase Elliott came into the History 300 with the series points lead. A broken right front suspension part sent him into the outside retaining wall and to the garage for repairs. Elliott ended the day 26 laps down in 37th position. He now sits third in the points, 28 points out of the lead.
Regan Smith, who finished seventh, now leads the series points standings, followed by Elliott Sadler.
The Nationwide series now heads to Dover International Speedway on Saturday May 31, for the Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket.