Larson Sweeps Weekend in Fontana

Instead of bridesmaid status for the fourth straight week, Kyle Larson dominated most of the day at Auto Club Speedway and took the lead in the closing laps to return to victory lane in NASCAR.

He led 110 laps from start to the finish of the Auto Club 400 and beat Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski on the final restart to score his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

“I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time,” Larson said. “It seems like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, the caution comes out and I’ve got to fight people off on restarts. Our Target Chevy was amazing all day. We were able to lead a lot of laps today. Truex was better than us that second stage by quite a bit. We were able to get the jump on him the following restart and led pretty much the rest of the distance. I had to fight them off there after the green flag stops and that was a lot of fun.

“This is just amazing. We have been so good all year long; three seconds in a row. I’ve been watching all the TV like ‘he doesn’t know how to win’, but we knew how to win today, so that was good.”

This win is in addition to his victory in the XFINITY Series race the day prior.

Keselowski overcame a spin on the third lap to finish runner-up. Clint Bowyer came home third.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Bowyer said. “We never showed the speed in practice, but I wasn’t worried about it because I knew the car was really comfortable on the long run and things like that. I was proud of the effort that (Mike) Buga and all the guys give me each and every week.

“I’m just having fun again. That’s what it’s about.”

Starting on pole, Larson lost the lead only during the green flag cycle in the middle of the first stage. But he quickly regained it and won it.

Though Larson dominating Stage 1, Truex took command of the race under the stage break and easily won the second stage.

“Well, I had slid through my (pit) box at the end of that first stage and I had to overdrive some to get to second and then Truex was just really good that run and I had run the top of (Turns) 3 and 4 and probably wore my tires out too much,” Larson said. “When I got to the lead in the third stage I knew to just commit to the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4 and save my tires the best I could. Our long run was really good the rest of the race.”

On the ensuing restart, Larson made a power move on Truex in Turn 1 to take the lead back. Other than surrendering it to Kyle Busch and Ty Dillon during a cycle of green-flag stops with 45 laps to go, which he took back with 37 to go, he was in command the entire run to the finish.

The complexion of the race changed when Corey LaJoie spun out in Turn 2, bringing out the penultimate caution with nine to go. Hamlin, Truex and Erik Jones elected to stay out while everyone else pitted.

Restarting with five to go, Larson powered by Truex for second with ease. He had a run on Hamlin but was boxed in by Truex to his inside and the outside wall. This only delayed him momentarily as he passed Hamlin to take the lead exiting Turn 2 with three to go and held him off on the overtime restart to win.

On the initial start, Hamlin got a bad start, forcing Keselowski to back into Ryan Newman. Keselowski was turned up into Kevin Harvick, who then made contact with Newman. Two laps later, Keselowski, with some help from Jimmie Johnson, spun out exiting Turn 4 and spun through the grass.

With 20 to go, Gray Gaulding suffered a right-front tire blowout and slammed the wall in Turn 2.

With 16 to go, Truex hooked Matt Kenseth exiting Turn 2, turning him down the track where he slammed the inside wall driver-side.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun out exiting Turn 2 with three to go, setting up the overtime finish.

The race lasted two hours, 57 minutes and 48 seconds at an average speed of 136.359 mph. There were 17 lead changes among eight different drivers and seven cautions for 29 laps.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles