BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kyle Larson took the checkered flag at the 47th annual Pure Michigan 400. He beat Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski to the finish line by 1.478 seconds at the 2-mile, oval-shaped track in the Irish Hills. It was first Sprint Cup series win after 99 attempts.
Sunday’s race was Larson’s third top 10 finish in six races at Michigan International Speedway. He is the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs to win a Sprint Cup race. Larson has clinched a spot in the Chase for the Cup, NASCAR’s playoff series.
“We’ve been close a few times throughout my Sprint Cup career, ” race winner Kyle Larson explained. “I’m glad to get it before my 100th start next week. It makes me extremely proud. They gave me an awesome car here. We didn’t change anything. I made a few mistakes early in the race. I slid threw a couple of pit stalls and had to relax. Had a close call when Kyle Busch spun. Had to work by Harvick and Brad. I just got a better push then he did. Super, super happy. Glad we got in the Chase.”
It was a relatively clean race with very few incidents. The race lasted 2 hours, 27 minutes and 29 seconds long. There were 20 lead changes among 13 drivers. The average speed was 162.742 mph during the race.
“You could see these restarts here at Michigan just got really crazy towards the end,” said third-place finisher Brad Keselowski. “At the end, I gave Kyle a really good push. Looked like Chase spun his tires a little bit. On long runs, we were maybe the best car. For most of the day, we were a third-place car. Finished where we deserved.”
A competition caution took place on laps 22 to 25. All drivers went into the pits for new tires and fuel. Kyle Busch spun out on lap 27 on the grass in turn four to bring out the second caution of the race.
The third caution of the race came on lap 120 for debris on the track. It lasted five laps. The fourth and final caution of the day came on lap 188 for debris once again. That lasted for a total of four laps. Then, it was a sprint to the finish from laps 191 to 200.
“No question the kid has talent,” Team Owner Chip Ganassi said. “Kyle and everybody knew it was a matter of win. We’ve been second plenty of times. I’ve developed a great relationship with Kyle. To say he’s the foundation of the team, sure. You want to rally around that. It takes a lot of things these days to build your team. It’s a big day today.”
Rounding out the top 10: Ryan Blaney finished fourth, Kevin Harvick ended up fifth, Jimmie Johnson finished sixth, Carl Edwards finished seventh, Jamie McMurray ended up eighth, Denny Hamlin finished ninth and Joey Logano ended up in 10th position.
“The first win for Kyle and the first win for Chevy,” said Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Chase just had a heck of a race. Kyle and the entire team did a fantastic job. That gives us our 5th entry here for the Chase. We hope to get a couple more in. Chevy has had a fortunate lineup of drivers. Some of the very best in the industry. I’m really proud of what that can mean for the future.”
Kevin Harvick leads in driver points standings following the Pure Michigan 400. Brad Keselowski is 25 points behind followed by Carl Edwards who is now 50 points behind him. Kurt Busch is fourth in points with 721 while Joey Logano has 716 points.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 4th.