Kyle Larson got a push to the front from Kevin Harvick in the final stage, then held off the defending champion to win the NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday night.
Larson wasn’t part of the elite field when the day began, racing his way in by winning the Monster Energy Open earlier at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Now, he’s got $1 million for the win and plenty to celebrate in a season in which he’s had only three top 10s and his biggest highlight was a frightening, airborne crash at Talladega Superspeedway last month.
“It feels amazing,” Larson said. “I came close to winning a couple of years ago. It feels good to close it out.”
Larson did it with a decisive shove through the pack by Harvick, a two-time All-Star champion who was eager for a third. Larson was sixth in the next-to-last restart with 12 laps left when he found enough space to squeeze between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Harvick jumped on Larson’s bumper and powered him into the lead.
Harvick didn’t count on Larson keeping it, though. Larson, a Chip Ganassi Racing driver, often had Busch and Harvick side-by-side in his rear-view mirror but held them off to take the victory.
Photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
Harvick was second, Busch was third and Logano was fourth.
Soon after Larson took the checkered flag, pole sitter Clint Bowyer ran to Ryan Newman’s car and began raining punches through the window before the two were separated by a crew member.
Newman said Bowyer “chopped” him on the track and hit him once more later in the race.
“Doesn’t take much of a man to try and fight somebody with a helmet on. I think he should be embarrassed of himself,” Newman said.
Indy 500 qualifying: McLaren’s return to the Indianapolis 500 neared a total collapse after Fernando Alonso failed to lock himself into the field on the first day of qualifying.
The two-day qualifying process guaranteed a spot in the May 26 race for the fastest 30 cars in Saturday qualifying. It took Alonso four attempts just to crack the benchmark, but he was knocked out by Graham Rahal, the final driver to make his run as the pistol was fired to signal the end of the session.
“We didn’t have the speed,” Alonso, a two-time Formula One world champion, said. “If we don’t make it, it is because we don’t deserve it.”