Kyle Larson snaps 75-race winless streak with playoff win at Dover
Kyle Larson won Sunday’s Cup Series playoff race at Dover International Speedway, snapping a 75-race winless streak that began in September 2017.
Larson led 154 of 400 laps - including the final 73 - to secure the win over Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman.
It is the second win of the year for Chip Ganassi Racing following Kurt Busch’s win at Kentucky Speedway. It’s the first time both of its drivers have won in a season since 2010.
It is Larson’s first playoff win and advances him and CGR to the third round for the first time.
“It’s really critical,” Larson told NBCSN at the start-finish line. “Everybody in this playoff field is going to be stressed next week at Talladega except for me. ... Last time I was at Talladega I was on my lid (he flipped multiple times in a wreck). I could still end up on my lid next week and it’s not going to matter after this win. ... After the first stage I kind of changed my driving style up and I feel like we made the car better at the same time. It really benefited our long runs.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever been around cutting the bottom here. Just a great combination here. Good to be fast in practice and then be good again in the race and get the win.”
The top five was completed by Kevin Harvick and pole-sitter Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin dominated the first half of the race and led 218 laps in his 500th career Cup start. Truex passed him with 12 laps left in Stage 2 and took the stage win. He then lost the lead on pit road after a tire changer slipped and fell, slowing his stop. Larson was the first car off pit road.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin
STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Martin Truex Jr. has finished in the top two in three of the four playoff races ... Alex Bowman finished in the top three in both Dover races this year ... Kyle Busch rebounded from a speeding penalty on Lap 123 to get his second top-10 finish of the playoffs ... Matt DiBenedetto placed seventh for his seventh top 10 of the season ... Jimmie Johnson finished eighth for his third straight top 10, his longest streak of the year.
WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Joey Logano had a mechanical issue before the race even started, putting his No. 22 Ford in the garage for the first 22 laps of the race. He finished 34th … Chase Elliott, the defending race winner, suffered an engine problem less than 10 laps into the race, which ended his day. He finished last … William Byron finished 13th after he was caught speeding on pit road during green flag stops in Stage 2 … Ryan Blaney finished 35th after he went to the garage with 100 laps left for brake issues.
NOTABLE: Larson is the fourth driver to end a winless streak of 30 races or more in 2019. 75 races was the longest streak snapped. ... Larson had nine runner-up finishes since his last win, the most all time between wins.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We just used our mulligan up.” - Joey Logano to NBCSN after mechanical issues resulted in a bad opening to the second round of the playoffs.
WHAT’S NEXT: 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway at 2 p.m. ET Oct. 13 on NBC