Larson beat Chase Elliott to the finish line just like he did in 2016. Larson sprinted away from Elliott in August at the two-mile track to get the first win of his career.
After Martin Truex Jr. won the first two stages of the race, Busch had the lead with 50 laps to go following a caution for Ryan Sieg’s spin. But Busch’s 1.5-second lead over Larson was erased with over 20 laps to go because of a debris caution.
The low line on starts and restarts had been horrible all day. But Larson side-drafted Busch perfectly on the restart after the debris caution and swiped the lead heading into turn 1.
“Ryan Blaney gave me a heck of a push,” Larson said of the restart that got him the lead. “So, I’ve really got to thank him a ton. I knew the Penske cars took off good, so I was happy to see him behind me. For us to withstand a few restarts there with some tough competitors there was pretty important.”
Larson’s first win of the season came at Auto Club Speedway, a similar two-mile track to Michigan. The win means he joins Truex and Brad Keselowski as drivers with multiple wins in 2016. Only Jimmie Johnson, with three, has more wins.
The victory also means Larson is the new Cup Series point leader. He now leads by five points over Truex. The mark is important because the points leader at the end of the regular season gets 15 points to use in the playoffs. Second-place in the points standings gets 10.
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