California Native Kyle Larson Earns Second Sonoma Career Win – Motorsports Tribune

California Native Kyle Larson Earns Second Sonoma Career Win – Motorsports Tribune

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

SONOMA, Calif. – The hometown hero Kyle Larson executed as he needed to, making a pass for the lead with eight laps remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 to claim his second win at the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway road course and third trophy of the season.

It was a frantic start to the day on the newly-repaved 1.99-mile course through the rolling Northern Californian hills with seven caution flags falling before the 110-lap race’s halfway point – more yellow flags than the previous two Sonoma races had combined.

But the final 51 laps ran caution-free with varying pit stop strategies playing a vital role in track position. The Hendrick Motorsports driver Larson was among the last to make his final stop – coming out on track in eighth position with 20 laps remaining and then moving forward by picking off one car, sometimes two cars at a time. 

Larson, who is from Elk Grove, Calif. about an hour from the track, ultimately put his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet out front for good after a dramatic three-way battle with four-time Sonoma winner Martin Truex Jr. and Chris Buescher with eight to go.

After Larson passed them both, Truex kept Larson honest for much of the closing laps only to run out of gas on the final lap. His No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota came to a stop in front of the front-stretch grandstands about 40-yards shy of the checkered flag. And with the other cars zooming by, Truex ultimately inched his car forward to a cheering crowd limping across the finish line in a heartbreaking 27th place.

“I didn’t know what we were doing as far as strategy,” said the 31-year old Larson. “I was just out there banging laps away. … so I was like, these guys have to pit another time maybe but then when they said I had to go race and then pass those guys, I got a bit nervous. I knew I’d be quick from the get-go but thought once the tires came up to temp it would even off too much.

“Thankful we had enough grip. Thankful too, those guys got racing and Martin never got clear really to where I’d be stuck in third.

“Just an awesome, awesome race.”

After making a last lap pass of Buescher and then benefitting from Truex’s situation, Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell came across the line in second place – 4.258-seconds behind Larson.

Buescher’s RFK Racing Ford was third followed by Hendrick’s Chase Elliott and Trackhouse Racing’s…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at NASCAR – Motorsports Tribune…