Kyle Larson Goes From Back to Front for NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Chicagoland
Larson leads 80 of 200 laps in the Overton’s 300 to claim his second win in three 2018 Xfinity Series season starts.
Kyle Larson qualified on the pole for Saturday’s Overton’s 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, but he had to start in the back as the result of an unapproved tire change after qualifying. The poor starting position didn’t deter the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular, though, as he drove through the field to lead a race-high 80 laps en route to his second win in three series starts so far in 2018.
“There’s always hope with this team,” Larson said. “There’s been a lot of times I’ve felt like I’m not good in practice and then [crew chief Mike] Shiplett and all the guys make it a lot better in the race, so hat’s off to them.”
Cup Series regulars took the top-two positions in the 200-lap race’s finishing order with Kevin Harvick finishing second.
“The handling was great on the last stop, probably better than it was the stop before,” Harvick said. “We were just a [lap] 1-25 [car] and not a 25-50.”
Tyler Reddick won the first 45-lap stage of the race. He was upfront at the start of the race after Larson was relegated to the back. Reddick, then, led all but 13 laps of the opening stage, with those other 13 being led by Daniel Suarez after he took the lead from Reddick on lap 12.
Larson was inside the top-five for the restart at the beginning of the second stage. He took his first lead on lap 72 and drove on to the stage-two win. Meanwhile, Reddick received a pit-road speeding penalty at the end of the second stage and was in the back where he was involved in a three-car incident that also involved Ryan Reed and Jeb Burton on lap 99. Reddick retired from the race as a result and was credited with a 33rd-place finish.
Larson and Harvick combined to lead most of the final 110-lap stage. When Larson took his final lead, he pulled away. He was out to a 10-second lead on Harvick after a cycle of green-flag pit stops completed with 20 laps remaining.
Cole Custer, like Larson, started the race in the back after an unapproved tire change. He finished third and replaced Elliott Sadler as the Xfinity Series championship points leader. Sadler finished just outside the top-five in sixth.
“It was a great car,” Custer said. “All our guys on the Haas Automation Mustang did great. I just hate that I missed the box that last corner. I think that is all on me. I don’t know that we would have caught Kyle, but we would have gotten one more spot. It is what it is. We will just move on.”
Overton’s 300 race results:
1. Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
2. Kevin Harvick (No. 98 Ford)
3. Cole Custer (No. 00 Ford)
4. Daniel Suarez (No. 18 Toyota)
5. Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Chevrolet)
6. Elliott Sadler (No. 1 Chevrolet)
7. Justin Allgaier (No. 7 Chevrolet)
8. Paul Menard (No. 22 Ford)
9. Chase Briscoe (No. 60 Ford)
10. Chase Elliott (No. 23 Chevrolet)
11. Brandon Jones (No. 19 Toyota)
12. Christopher Bell (No. 20 Toyota)
13. Ross Chastain (No. 4 Chevrolet)
14. Austin Cindric (No. 12 Ford)
15. Ryan Truex (No. 11 Chevrolet)
16. Matt Tifft (No. 2 Chevrolet)
17. Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Chevrolet)
18. J.J. Yeley (No. 38 Chevrolet)
19. Garrett Smithley (No. 0 Chevrolet)
20. Ryan Sieg (No. 39 Chevrolet)
21. Alex Labbe (No. 36 Chevrolet)
22. Joey Gase (No. 35 Chevrolet)
23. David Starr (No. 52 Chevrolet)
24. Blake Jones (No. 8 Chevrolet)
25. B.J. McLeod (No. 15 Chevrolet)
26. Brandon Hightower (No. 55 Toyota)
27. Vinnie Miller (No. 01 Chevrolet)
28. Scott Heckert (No. 78 Chevrolet)
29. Spencer Boyd (No. 76 Chevrolet)
30. Michael Annett (No. 5 Chevrolet)
31. Josh Williams (No. 90 Chevrolet)
32. Ryan Reed (No. 16 Ford)
33. Tyler Reddick (No. 9 Chevrolet)
34. Jeb Burton (No. 3 Chevrolet)
35. Josh Bilicki (No. 45 Toyota)
36. John Jackson (No. 66 Dodge)
37. Timmy Hill (No. 13 Tioyota)
38. Chad Finchum (No. 40 Toyota)
39. Jeff Green (No. 93 Chevrolet)
40. Kaz Grala (No. 61 Ford)
Up next: The Xfinity Series goes night racing at Daytona International Speedway on July 6. That race will be the series’ third and final restrictor-plate race of 2018, the second at Daytona. JR Motorsports claimed wins in the two most recent Xfintiy Series races at DIS. William Byron is the defending winner of the July race there, but Tyler Reddick won in the most recent trip to Daytona in February.