Larson Drives His Way Into All-Star Race, Then Wins It
There are a couple of ways to qualify for NASCAR's annual All-Star race. Drivers who have won a NASCAR Cup Series race in the past year, won a previous All-Star race or who had won a Cup championship are automatically qualified. If a driver doesn't fall into any of those categories, they can drive their way in.
That's what Kyle Larson did on Saturday. He won the Monster Energy Open qualifying race to put him in the 19-car field for the All-Star race. Two other drivers who won the first two Stages of the Open, Bubba Wallace and William Byron and the winner of the Fan Vote; Alex Bowman also qualified, but Larson made the most of his opportunity.
Larson took the lead with 12 laps to go and held off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch for his first victory of any kind since September of 2017. And along with the victory comes a $1-million prize.
After leading a race-high 33 laps Harvick was forced to settle for second place, keeping him winless in 2019 after winning eight races last year. Kyle Busch came in third.
Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace completed the Top 5.
After the race Clint Bowyer fired a series of punches at Ryan Newman while Newman was still behind the wheel after the two traded paint on the cool-down lap. Bowyer was pulled away after getting his licks in.
Next up is the season's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 next Sunday.