BROOKLYN, Mich. – It was a great weekend for Kyle Larson and Cars 3. Cars 3 finished No. 1 in the box office over the weekend. Larson drove the No. 42 Cars 3/Target Chevrolet to victory at Michigan International Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday.
Larson started from the pole, led 96 of the 200 laps and won a five-lap shootout to give himself a Father’s Day present. Larson has won the last two races at Michigan, following up his August victory that was his first at the Cup level. Larson also won the August 2016 race at Michigan and now has three Cup Series career wins. He also regained the lead in the season point standings over Martin Truex Jr., who finished sixth.
Truex claimed each of the first two stages in the race. “The 78 was by far the class of the field, I thought,” Larson said. “I know I led a lot of laps. Seemed like whenever he wanted to get the lead, he hit a nitro button and would cruise up to the lead, then check out. He was the class of the field. “I thought we were probably a third- or fourth-place car,” Larson said. “To come out a winner, it makes it that much more exciting, I guess. “I guess it would be disappointing if I finished outside the top 10 or something. For not having the dominant car, to do everything right to get a win today, was special.”
Kyle Busch was leading before a caution came out for debris on lap 181 for four laps. Larson went inside to pass Busch on the restart. “Ryan Blaney gave me a heck of a push,” Larson said. “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. I can’t thank these guys enough.
“The Cars 3 Chevy was really, really fast. And it was cool to win it. What a great Father’s Day present for myself and all the other fathers out there. My dad is here today, too. So, I’m looking forward to celebrating with him. “We’ve been so close to so many other wins. This is our second Cup win of the year, but we’ve had six second-place finishes (including the All-Star Race). All-in-all, it’s a good season so far, and we’ll continue to keep building on what we’ve got.”
Chase Elliott, who Larson held off in the final stretch, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet, earned his third top-five finish in a row at Michigan and his ninth top-10 of 2017. “We had a couple of opportunities to get the lead,” Elliott said. “And, unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. But we’ll move on. Congratulations to Kyle. He had a fast car today, and we’ll try to go get ’em next week.”
Joey Logano, who announced after the race that he and wife Brittany are expecting, finished third in the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske. Logano said it was good to “stop the bleeding.” “You have no idea how good this feels,” Logano said. “It’s been a struggle the last month-and-a-half, and it’s nice to come here to Michigan, maybe our best racetrack, and be able to overcome a lot.
“I’m not sure we had a third-place car today, but the team executed like they needed to get the Shell-Pennzoil Ford into the top three. Proud of the effort. I wish I could have the last restart back. I think I could have gotten to second. I wasn’t able to stay attached to the 42. I had a good start, but the whole bottom lane was able to stack up really good and push ahead and then Denny (Hamlin) slid up in front of us; just racing there. “Turning the momentum a bit and bringing home a solid top-five and change things.”
Hamlin finished fourth, and Jamie McMurray was fifth. It was a disappointing day for Brad Keselowski. The Rochester Hills, Mich., native finished 16th. “We just weren’t really where we needed to be,” Keselowski said. “We had a few bright spots, but we couldn’t get it there at the end.”
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