NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Larson rebounds from drama to win NASCAR race at Homestead

October 23

By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kyle Larson rebounded from the drama a week earlier to dominate and capture a NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This wasn’t just his 19th Cup victory; this was also a victory at a track where he had led 330 laps in his career but come up empty. It came a week after he was intentionally wrecked out of the race at Las Vegas by Bubba Wallace, who was suspended for Homestead for what NASCAR determined to be a dangerous act that crossed the line of acceptable racing.

Larson said Saturday that he had hoped the storyline could turn back to the track, and he did his best to make that happen Sunday, as he led 199 of the 267 laps, including the final 22.

"Cool to get a win here at Homestead," he said. "I’ve been probably the best car and team every time I’ve came here. .... It’s neat to finally get it done."

Kyle Larson dominates to win at Homestead-Miami

Kyle Larson cruises to victory over Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With Larson winning but having been knocked out of contention for the drivers championship a couple of weeks ago, only Joey Logano (the Vegas winner) is locked in as one of the four drivers eligible to race for the title in two weeks at Phoenix.

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Here are three takeaways from Homestead:

Larson dominates 

Larson had to rally after a pit sequence put him fifth, but he obviously had the best car at the track Sunday. He rallied to second and then took the lead on pit road when Martin Truex Jr. lost sight of his pit stall and ended up getting spun by Larson into his pit box.

"It’s really hard to see through these windshields right now, with the sun like that and all the stuff covering it," Truex said. "I did see my box late, for sure, so I slowed down before I turned out of the way of the 5 [of Larson] there. 

"Obviously, partly on me. I didn't expect to get turned around. I'm glad nobody got hurt there."

Homestead has been one of Larson's best tracks but one where he seemed to always make a mistake, or circumstances didn't go his way. Overall, he has had a year in which he has made too many mistakes. But not this week.

"We had a great car and just executed a race from start to finish," he said. "Finally."

Kyle Larson on his win Sunday at Miami

Kyle Larson didn’t think he could pass Martin Truex Jr. until the caution for the Tyler Reddick crash set up a late restart.

Although Larson is not in the running for the drivers title, thanks to a quirk in the regular-season results (Kurt Busch's team qualified for the owners championship while Busch was injured and not running for the drivers championship), Larson will still have incentive at Phoenix, as his team qualified for the owners title.

An owners title would be worth more than $2 million to the race team, as NASCAR pays bonus money based on the owners championship, not the drivers championship.

Chastain, Elliott, Byron above cut

Ross Chastain finished second, unable to catch Larson at the end, but left 19 points ahead of the cutoff entering the elimination race next week at Martinsville.

"We just were too tight," he said. "I probably hit the wall almost 30 times today."

Ross Chastain was just a little too tight to catch Kyle Larson

Ross Chastain said he was just a little too tight to be able to make the moves he needed to catch Kyle Larson.

William Byron (12th) and Chase Elliott (14th) are also above the cutline: Elliott by 11 points and Byron by five.

They were both foiled on pit road. Elliott lost track position when the caution came out for a Ryan Blaney spin while he was on pit road. Byron lost spots a couple of laps earlier, thanks to a slow pit stop in which he had to back up into his pit stall to make sure the wheels were tight.

"We were playing defense all day, but we were doing a pretty good job of it, staying inside the top-5 there," Elliott said. "So that was great, but that's what happens when you're playing defense, and you have something like that happen to you. You just get stuck.

"The other guys that got buried [on the caution], they drove right back to the front. So that's the difference."

Chase Elliott describes his day at Homestead

Chase Elliott said he was playing defense all day at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hamlin, Blaney, Bell, Briscoe below

The four drivers who left Homestead below the cutline left frustrated.

Denny Hamlin (seventh and now five points below the cutline) had a car that was not good on the short runs, Blaney (17th, minus-18) spun while trying to exit pit road, Christopher Bell (11th, minus-33) didn't have the speed, and Chase Briscoe (36th, minus-44) was involved in a single-car crash.

"We hit the wall a lot today and just didn't have a short-run car," Hamlin said. "It's just so frustrating. I got the lead [at one point], and then I got second there on the last restart, and just I had just no speed. 

"I just couldn’t get any speed out of the car for the first 15 laps [after pitting]."

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Blaney might have been the most frustrated after his spin.

"I made a mistake. It’s two weeks in a row I made mistakes and cost us a good run and couldn't get back up the field after that," he said. "So an unfortunate end of the day again due to a driver mistake again."

Ryan Blaney was frustrated with himself on Sunday

Ryan Blaney was frustrated with himself for making a mistake while leaving pit road at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.


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