Larson wins wild NASCAR Xfinity race at COTA after SVG and Hill clash

Larson wins wild NASCAR Xfinity race at COTA after SVG and Hill clash

Larson had won the pole for the race but had to start from the rear when his No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports team had to replace a brake rotor.

He battled back through the field, overcame a penalty, and found himself running third and on the freshest tires on the final lap of the race’s second attempt at overtime.

Hill had grabbed the lead from van Gisbergen on the restart, but van Gisbergen patiently ran him back down and nudged him off the track on the final lap. Larson pounced and dove to van Gisbergen’s inside while the two tangled and came away with the lead.

Larson held on to win by 1.215 seconds over van Gisbergen, but the 34-year-old Kiwi was assessed a 30-second penalty after the race for short cutting the course on the final lap, relegating him to 27th.

The win is Larson’s first in the series in his first start this season and 15th of his career.

“I knew (Hill) shoved (van Gisbergen) and he was really good, so I knew (SVG) was going to get back to him and when he did, it opened the door,” Larson said. “It was wild, I don’t think I’ve ever won a race that way.

“It feels like I’m always the guy getting shoved out of the way and losing.”

Hill ended up credited with second place while John Hunter Nemechek was third, Cole Custer fourth and Parker Kligerman fifth.

Completing the top 10 were Jesse Love, Austin Green who was making his debut, Chandler Smith, Sam Mayer and A.J. Allmendinger.

Most of the race had been dominated by van Gisbergen, the three-time Supercars champion, and Allmendinger, who together led 40 of the 50 laps.

“Austin got me in Turn 1, I was trying to get him back,” van Gisbergen said. “Once I got into Austin, it just wouldn’t turn. I gave it a good shot, but it just didn’t crack.”

Stage 1

Kligerman elected not to pit before the break and cruised to a 3.318-second Stage 1 win over Sammy Smith. Sage Karam was third, Parker Retzlaff fourth and Riley Herbst rounded out the top five.

Stage 2

Herbt was awarded the Stage 2 win after Jones – who was leading – was penalized for short-cutting the course on the final lap of the stage. Custer ended up second, Allmendinger third, Larson fourth and van Gisbergen fifth.

Early in the stage, Allmendinger, Larson and van Gisbergen briefly engaged in a wild three-way battle for the lead before Allmendinger finally got clear.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, several of the lead-lap cars pitted but Allmendinger was…

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