Kyle Larson dominates NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway
Kyle Larson turned in a dominating effort to win his third All-Star race and earn $1 million Sunday night time within the Cup Series’ return to North Wilkesboro Speedway following a 27-year absence.
Larson turned solely the fourth driver to win the All-Star race at least 3 times. Jimmie Johnson has probably the most with 4 victories, whereas Larson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt have three.
Larson is the primary to win the All-Star race at three completely different tracks, additionally having gained in Charlotte in 2019 and Texas in 2021.
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He celebrated with a full lap of burnouts across the .625-mile observe as Hendrick Motorsports gained its eleventh All-Star race.
Bubba Wallace completed second within the 200-lap non-points exhibition race, adopted by Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Chase Elliott.
But solely Larson collected prize cash within the winner-take-all occasion.
Larson overcame an early dashing penalty on lap 24, and ran away from the sector.
After being despatched to the again of the sector on lap 24, he drove his No. 5 Chevrolet blowing previous 16 automobiles on recent tires, together with polesitter Daniel Suarez on lap 56 to take the lead. Larson went on to construct an 11-second lead earlier than the primary competitors warning at lap 100.
The competitors warning did not gradual Larson, who was by no means severely challenged within the second half of the race.
If followers got here to see wrecks, they walked away disenchanted.
There have been none.
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And the one move they noticed for the lead was Larson transferring previous Suarez.
North Wilkesboro Speedway’s patched-up asphalt observe held up pretty nicely following per week of racing regardless of not having been paved in additional than three a long time.
The observe, which sat principally dormant and have become overgrown with weeds, was restored with assist of Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith and Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for NASCAR’s seventy fifth 12 months anniversary season.
Suarez and Chris Buescher began on the entrance row for the All-Star race after successful their 60-lap heats Saturday night time, when NASCAR experimented for the primary time with moist climate tires on Cup Series automobiles.
Suarez dominated early, main the primary 55 laps of the race, whereas Buescher shortly fell off the tempo early, dropping to tenth place after simply 5 laps when he caught on the surface.
Kevin Harvick, who is about to retire after the season, drove the throwback No. 29 automobile with the white paint scheme one final time.
It’s the identical automobile the two-time All-Star winner started his profession in after taking up Dale Earnhardt’s spot with Richard Childress following Earnhardt’s dying at the Daytona 500 in 2001.
Harvick usually races the No. 4 for Stewart-Haas Racing, however SHR labored out a take care of RCR to permit him to run the No. 29 automobile.
Earlier within the day, Josh Berry gained the All-Star Open to advance to the All-Star race together with second-place finisher Ty Gibbs and fan vote winner Noah Gragson. Berry took the lead with 23 laps remaining when he handed Gibbs on the apron on the within of the observe.
“It’s pretty cool, pretty special to be here,” Gibbs stated. “I wasn’t alive when they raced here, but it’s really cool. It’s a worn out race track, but it’s fun. Just kind of looking for patches, looking for grip.”
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There have been two crashes within the Open race, together with one involving Michael McDowell and Justin Haley, who have been each operating within the high 5 at the time earlier than Gibbs bumped McDowell.