In the NASCAR Cup Series’ grand return to North Wilkesboro, Kyle Larson put on a clinic and won the All-Star Race.
Larson overcame a speeding penalty during a four-tire stop on lap 18. Then, he gained 23 spots and took the lead from Daniel Suarez on lap 55.
The 2021 Cup Series champion didn’t look back. He led 144 of the 145 remaining laps and won.
“So much fun there. That was old-school ass whipping for sure. We had a great car on the long run there and was just thinking for sure there was going to be a caution. I got out to a big lead and I could see everybody’s cars were driving like crap in front of me. What an amazing car. Everything that my car did bad on Friday and Saturday did great today,” Larson said.
Larson is now the only driver to win the All-Star Race at three different tracks. He also won the 2019 race at Charlotte and the 2021 race at Texas. This also means he has won every other All-Star Race since 2019.
Hendrick Motorsports has now also won all but one of the last four All-Star Races, as Chase Elliott also won the All-Star Race at Bristol in 2020.
The top 10 is as follows: Larson, Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano
THROUGH THE FIELD
Wallace and Reddick finished second and third. Like Larson, the 23XI Racing teammates pitted for four tires on lap 18 and tore through the field.
“I think we needed the louvers and whatever cheated-up stuff they have on ther- No, ha. Just his capability throughout the whole run, he could attack hard and then have something there at the end. If this was any other race, I’d be excited, but for a million dollars to come up short and walk home with nothing. Tail tucked between our legs, but all in all, just continuing to ride the momentum train,” Wallace said.
“Me and Bubba were trying to figure out how much to push, how much to save, and I had an opportunity to get around him with 40 to go, and I just made a mistake on the fuel all night, and it put us behind,” Reddick said. “Honestly, a good solid car. I thought the 14 and 9 were going to eat us up, but started to really push at the end there, and I had more left in the tank than I thought.”
Suarez, who led the other 56 laps in the race, finished seventh.
Logano, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell rounded out the top 12 lead lap cars. Each of them had a penalty during the lap 102 caution.
HOW THE OPEN CARS FARED
Ty Gibbs finished ninth after finishing second in the All-Star Open and advancing to the main event.
The 2022 Xfinity Series champ bested the other drivers who advanced out of the Open.
Open winner Josh Berry finished 15th, one lap down, in the All-Star Race. Fan vote winner Noah Gragson finished 23rd, three laps down.
The only incident of the night happened while exiting turn four on lap 17.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got caught out of the groove in the turn. Then, as he tried getting to the bottom, Erik Jones bumped and spun him out.
Stenhouse finished 24th – last – four laps down.
William Byron and Kyle Busch finished two laps down in 20th and 22nd, respectively.
During the 82-lap green flag run between laps 20 and 102, they pitted for fresh tires and fell off the lead lap.
The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET; TV: FOX; Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)