Kyle Larson Turns Dominant Performance Into NASCAR Xfinity Series Win at Bristol

After Kyle Busch dominated early, Kyle Larson took over and led more than two-thirds of 2018 Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300
Brian Lawdermilk—Getty Images

Kyle Larson dominated the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on Saturday night, leading 202 of the 300 laps that made up the race on his way to the win. It was his fourth win in six Xfinity Series races this year but his first at Bristol after three second-place finishes and no worse than fifth there in six-career series starts there.

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Kyle Larson up front at Bristol

Kyle Larson leads the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 17, 2018.

Kyle Busch dominated the race early, starting on the pole and leading the first 69 laps. But Busch went from first to out when contact with the retaining wall on Lap 70 caused a broken A-arm and retirement from the race. He was credited with a 36th-place finish.

“Just rubber on top of rubber,” Busch said. “The rubber build up that was happening, I just got into the corner a little too hot and just got up into the fence a little bit, and then. I don’t know, two or three laps later. it blew out.”

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Kyle Busch up front early

Kyle Busch leads the field to the green flag for the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 17, 2018.

Cole Custer inherited the lead from Busch’s misfortune, but on a Lap 80 restart, Larson took his first lead. He went on to win both 85-lap stages.

“It feels really good,” Larson said. “I wish Kyle Busch wouldn’t have had his troubles so I could have raced him, but it still feels very, very cool.”

Elliott Sadler led laps through pit strategy early in the third and final stage of the race, and Christopher Bell led 18 laps before Larson regained the lead on lap 204.

Bell challenged Larson closely for the lead in the final 100 laps but was fourth in the running order for an overtime restart following the eighth caution of the race. He was able to get back up to second by the checkered flag for runner-up honors.

“I was smiling inside my helmet so big,” Bell said. “This is the first time I’ve gotten to run the real Bristol where the top rubbers in and you get going around there pretty good. That was the most fun I’ve had in a stock car, man. I love lapped traffic, and Kyle loves lapped traffic, too. We grew up racing without spotters where lapped traffic was a huge factor of the race, and then, you go to 90 percent of the NASCAR tracks that are big enough and spotters have enough time to communicate, and they just kind of get the lapped cars out of your way. Here at Bristol, that’s not the case; you have to navigate the lapped traffic, and that’s what makes this place really fun.”

FOOD CITY 300 RESULTS:
1. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet
2. Christopher Bell, No. 20 Toyota
3. Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Chevrolet
4. Cole Custer, No. 00 Chevrolet
5. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford
6. Elliott Sadler, No. 1 Chevrolet
7. Michael Annett, No. 5 Chevrolet
8. Chase Elliott, No. 23 Chevrolet
9. Tyler Reddick, No. 9 Chevrolet
10. Matt Tifft, No. 2 Chevrolet
11. Ryan Sieg, No. 39 Chevrolet
12. Ross Chastain, No. 4 Chevrolet
13. Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet
14. Austin Cindric, No. 12 Ford
15. Ty Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet
16. Garrett Smithley, No. 0 Chevrolet
17. Ryan Reed, No. 16 Ford
18. Joey Gase, No. 35 Chevrolet
19. B.J. McLeod, No. 15 Chevrolet
20. J.A. Avila, No. 78 Chevrolet
21. David Starr, No. 52 Chevrolet
22. Ryan Truex, No. 11 Chevrolet
23. Alex Labbe, No. 36 Chevrolet
24. Daniel Hemric, No. 21 Chevrolet
25. Spencer Boyd, No. 76 Chevrolet
26. Jeff Green, No. 38 Chevrolet
27. Bayley Currey, No. 55 Toyota
28. Josh Williams, No. 90 Chevrolet
29. Brandon Jones, No. 19 Toyota
30. Chad Finchum, No. 40 Toyota
31. Stephen Leicht, No. 74 Chevrolet
32. Vinnie Miller, No. 01 Chevrolet
33. Carl Long, No. 66 Chevrolet
34. Chase Briscoe, No. 60 Ford
35. Josh Bilicki, No. 45 Toyota
36. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
37. Ray Black Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet
38. Timmy Hill, No. 13 Toyota
39. Morgan Shepherd, No. 80 Chevrolet
40. J.J. Yeley, No. 93 Chevrolet

UP NEXT: After a week on the short track of Bristol Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to road-course action for the third time in four race weekends with an August 25 date with Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Four races remain in the 2018 Xfinity Series regular season, counting the Road America race. Jeremy Clements is the defending winner of the race as the result of a surprise career-first win a year ago. He’s the only current series regular with a Road America win to his credit.