Larson claims second victory at Auto Club in XFINITY Series
By Dominic Aragon
March 25, 2017
When the checkered flag flew, it was Kyle Larson holding off a late charge from Joey Logano to win his sixth career XFINITY Series race Saturday at Auto Club Speedway.
Larson led 21 laps in the Service King 300 en route to his first victory in the series in 2017, including the final seven.
“I would liked to not have seen that last caution, because I thought our car was better than Joey’s on that longer run,” Larson said. “But we got the caution, had a great pit stop, and lined up on the outside row.”
Pole-sitter Joey Logano led the opening 31 laps.
Kyle Busch, who started 16th, made it to second position before the race’s first caution.
A Matt Tifft spin in [Turn 2] with six laps left in the first stage brought out the first caution of the race.
Logano led the field down pit road for pit stops during the caution period and exited first, but a speeding penalty for entering pit road too fast forced the driver to start from the tail-end of the field.
The race resumed with one lap left with Busch winning stage one.
Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch led laps in stage two with Busch ultimately winning the stage.
Logano was able to climbed to second by the end of the second stage.
Logano and Busch started side-by-side coming to the green flag to begin the third stage with 72 laps to go.
Busch and Logano swapped the lead three times in a 19 lap span.
Paul Menard, who was running fifth with 57 laps to go, made contact with Erik Jones on the frontstretch, sending Menard’s car into the outside wall.
Menard finished 36th.
“The car was just really good,” Menard said to FOX Sports. “All weekend long, I thought we were at least a third place car, and the leaders weren’t getting away from us that last run, we were actually catching on it a little bit.”
Logano’s car fell off the jack during pit stops under the caution caused by Menard’s accident. He was the leader entering pit road.
XFINITY regular Cole Custer wrecked with 44 laps to go with contact from Ryan Sieg.
With 20 laps to go, Kyle Larson and Keselowski battle for the lead, with Larson taking the lead with 11 laps to go.
A caution for a Brandon Jones accident in Turn 2 with nine laps to go bunched up the field again with drivers hitting pit road.
Larson and Logano took four tires with Spencer Gallagher taking two tires.
The restart with four laps to go featured Larson and Spencer Gallagher on the front row with Larson electing to restart on the outside.
Larson held off Logano for the victory by a margin of .127 seconds. The win was his second in four years at the track in the series.
31 cars finished on the lead lap, the most of any XFINITY Series race in 2017.
Eight drivers in the 40-car field Saturday are also running the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday.
Kyle Larson was the highest finisher with the win, Joey Logano was second, Kyle Busch third, Erik Jones fourth, Ty Dillon 10th, Corey LaJoie 18th, Timmy Hill 30th, Paul Menard 36th.
The three highest finishing XFINITY Series regulars were William Byron (fifth), Darrell Wallace Jr. (sixth) and Elliott Sadler (seventh).
Unofficially, Elliott Sadler increases his points lead over second place William Byron by six points to 17. Ryan Reed is third, 23 points behind the lead.
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