Texas Motor Speedway

Pass with 30 laps to go seals Xfinity win for Kyle Larson

Ryan Preece’s pit crew services his car during the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ryan Preece’s pit crew services his car during the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. Star-Telegram

Once Kyle Larson took the lead at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, no one in the field had anything for him.

Larson passed Brad Keselowski on the final restart with 30 laps to go and hung on for his first Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway. The victory was also the first in the series at TMS for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Larson built a lead of more than a second over Keselowski before brushing the wall with five laps to go. While that slowed him down, he still edged Keselowski by 0.385 seconds for his second Xfinity win of the season.

I was a little too loose up top and brushed the wall. It actually tightened my car up front.

Kyle Larson

In the Xfinity chase within the race, Erik Jones finished fourth and was the best finisher of the chase contenders. Daniel Suarez finished fifth and Elliott Sadler was sixth.

Suarez leads Sadler by one point heading into Phoenix, but no Xfinity driver is locked into the championship field for the season-ending race at Homestead. The top four drivers are separated by 16 points, with Justin Allgaier just one point out of the final transfer spot.

143 Laps led by second-place finisher Brad Keselowski

Keselowski, who started on the pole in his No. 22 Ford, had the car to beat for most of the race. He led 143 laps and was the leader before Brandon Hightower brought out the final caution with a blown engine.

That allowed Larson to get outside Keselowski on the restart and make his outside pass stick.

Larson got a push from Sadler — who did the same for Larson in a win earlier this season at Pocono — to get a run on the restart.

“Today was a fun race,” said Larson, who now has five career victories in the Xfinity Series. “I know Brad probably had the best car. Clean air was big today, and our pit crew did a great job to get our car on the front row for the final restart.

“Once we got the clean air, I was a little bit too loose out front. I was a little too loose up top and brushed the wall. It actually tightened my car up front.”

Keselowski knew he was in trouble once Larson got in front of him.

“We had a really strong car,” said Keselowski. “I thought maybe we were just a touch faster, but without the track position you lose too much grip to be able to do anything.”

Jones, who led 23 laps in his No. 20 Toyota, felt like the regular Xfinity drivers had to race with a different mindset than the Sprint Cup drivers in the field because of the championship stakes.

The toughest part of our chase is racing the Cup guys. They have nothing to lose. Had there been no Cup guys today, we would have won the race and advanced.

Erik Jones

“It’s more points racing than it was intended to be,” he said. “The toughest part of our chase is racing the Cup guys. They have nothing to lose. Had there been no Cup guys today, we would have won the race and advanced. You’ve got to points race and try to advance.”

Race Results

Note: Start position in parentheses.

1. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200 laps, 132.6 rating, 0 points; 2. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200, 144.8, 0; b (9) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200, 114.1, 0; 4. (2) Erik Jones, Toyota, 200, 118.3, 38; 5. (4) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 200, 109.6, 36; 6. (8) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200, 102.6, 35; 7. (7) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, 105.3, 0; 8. (10) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 200, 95.6, 34; b (3) Matt Tifft, Toyota, 200, 96.1, 0; 10. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200, 95.8, 31;

11. (18) Darrell Wallace Jr, Ford, 200, 85.7, 30; 12. (13) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200, 86.8, 29; 13. (14) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200, 82.5, 28; 14. (12) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 200, 81.7, 27; b (16) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200, 77.7, 26; 16. (17) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, 84.4, 25; 17. (20) J.J. Yeley, Toyota, 200, 73.3, 24; 18. (21) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199, 67.4, 23; 19. (11) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 199, 71.8, 22; 20. (19) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 199, 63.1, 21;

21. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 198, 63.0, 20; 22. (25) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 197, 64.1, 19; 23. (23) Corey Lajoie, Toyota, 196, 57.3, 18; 24. (26) David Starr, Chevrolet, 196, 59.7, 17; 25. (27) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 196, 57.7, 16; 26. (30) Clint King, Ford, 196, 49.2, 15; 27. (24) Ray Black Jr, Chevrolet, 194, 51.1, 14; 28. (28) B J McLeod, Ford, 193, 49.8, 13; 29. (29) Austin Theriault, Ford, 192, 43.2, 0; 30. (35) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 190, 43.3, 11;

31. (34) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 190, 41.3, 10; 32. (36) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 185, 37.0, 9; b (38) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 185, 35.2, 8; 34. (40) Matt Waltz, Chevrolet, 184, 32.3, 7; 35. (37) Brandon Hightower, Toyota, engine, 130, 31.5, 6; 36. (22) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, accident, 129, 52.3, 0; 37. (32) Dexter Stacey, Chevrolet, handling, 80, 31.8, 4; 38. (39) Timmy Hill, Dodge, suspension, 24, 27.3, 0; 39. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, handling, 19, 29.7, 2; 40. (31) Jeff Green, Toyota, brakes, 1, 23.2, 1.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 140.995 mph. Time of Race: 2 hours, 7 minutes, 40 seconds. Margin of Victory: 0.385 seconds. Caution Flags: 5 for 22 laps. Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers. Lap Leaders: B. Keselowski 0; E. Jones 1-23; B. Keselowski 24-48; B. Poole 49-50; B. Keselowski 51-170; K. Larson 171-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): B. Keselowski, 3 times for 143 laps; K. Larson, 1 time for 29 laps; E. Jones, 1 time for 22 laps; B. Poole, 1 time for 1 lap. Wins: E. Jones, 4; E. Sadler, 3; A. Dillon, 2; D. Suarez, 2; K. Larson, 1.

Top 10 in Points: 1. E. Sadler, 3039; 2. D. Suarez, 3039; 3. B. Koch, 3032; 4. J. Allgaier, 3027; 5. E. Jones, 3027; 6. R. Reed, 3025; 7. B. Gaughan, 3010; 8. D. Wallace, 3009; 9. T. Dillon, 2114; 10. B. Poole, 2114.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments