Larson sweeps Auto Club race weekend


By Dominic Aragon
March 26, 2017

Kyle Larson made it a perfect sweep, claiming victory in both NASCAR races at Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

In addition to the XFINITY Series race Saturday, Larson won the Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunday at the speedway, pulling away from the field on a restart with two laps to go. “The pit calls were great, the pit crew did an amazing job,” Larson said.

“A fairly clean race for us. Lots of fun to be Kyle Larson right now. Our racecars are really fast, XFINITY and Cup. It’s a blast to show up to the racetrack every week.”

STAGE ONE
Kyle Larson started on the pole, the second of his MENCS career. He lead the opening five laps. Keselowski, who started third, was running 18th on lap three when Jimmie Johnson made contact with Brad Keselowski on the frontstretch, sending the driver spinning to the infield grass. The incident brought out the first caution of the race. Larson won the first stage, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott. Larson led a total of 44 laps in the stage, the most of any driver.

STAGE TWO

19 cars began the stage on the lead lap.

Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray led field to green flag to begin the stage.


Truex led 27 laps before surrendering the lead to Chase Elliott.

Truex led the most laps in the stage (62) en route to winning stage two. Kyle Larson was second and Chase Elliott was third.


STAGE THREE
With 18 cars on the lead lap to begin the final stage, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. led the field to the green flag.

A caution with 21 laps to go for Gray Gaulding hitting the Turn 1 wall erased the multi-second lead Larson and Truex had on the rest of the lead lap cars.

When the race resumed with 16 laps to go, Matt Kenseth restarted fourth, but crashed into the infield retaining wall after spinning out of Turn 2 from contact with Truex.

Larson and Kyle Busch restarted side-by-side on the restart with 11 laps to go.

A Corey LaJoie spin with nine laps to go brought out the race’s sixth caution.

While most cars entered pit road for service, Hamlin, Truex, and Jamie McMurray elected to not pit with eight laps to go. Hamlin led the field to the green flag with five laps to go.

Larson took the lead with four laps to go, securing the lead after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun off of Turn 2 on the same lap.

In NASCAR overtime, Larson and Hamlin restarted on row one with Larson electing to take the high line.

With two laps to go, Larson pulled away to win the Auto Club 400 by a margin of 0.779 seconds over second-place Brad Keselowski.

OVERALL
Kyle Larson picked up his second career win in the MENCS. It was the first time this season a pole sitter has won a race in 2017.

Larson extended his point lead to 29 over Chase Elliott.

Clint Bowyer’s third place was his best finish in the MENCS in 61 races.

Daniel Suarez was the highest finishing rookie in seventh.
In his 600th career start, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th.

23 cars finished on the lead lap. 36 cars were running at the finish of the race.

IMAGES:
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images  NASCAR Media Group 

SOURCES:
Racing-Reference.info

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