Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson took a commanding win at NASCAR’s Dixie Vodka 400 held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Despite being eliminated from Play-off contention two weeks ago, Larson took a commanding win in Miami, winning both stages of the race, and leading 199 of the race’s 267 laps.
However, in spite of his pace advantage, Larson’s path to victory would be far from straightforward, with the California native involved in a bizarre pit lane incident with Martin Truex Jr. who was also in contention for the win.
This opened the door for Ross Chastain to finish second, on a day when the remaining Playoff contenders all finished outside the top 5.
Larson delighted with first Homestead win
Despite claiming 19 wins and a NASCAR championship over his career, Larson has never won at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The driver of the #5 Chevrolet, commended his pit crew for helping him break his duck on a circuit he has always been quick on.
“No matter what team I’ve been with, things haven’t worked out on my end to get a win, so glad to get one today,” Larson said after the race.
“Definitely the best run we’ve had all year long. We’ve been capable of it, I feel like many weekends, we just hadn’t quite put it all together. [Crew chief] Cliff [Daniels] gave a great speech this morning and got us all ready to go and focused.
“Amazing race car.”
Pit lane chaos
The biggest talking point from the race came during the final round of pit stops following a caution period.
With Treux Jr. leading the field into pit road, the Joe Gibbs driver made a late turn into his pit box.
The sudden loss in speed combined with the turn meant that Larson bumped Truex Jr. into a spin just as he was entering his pit box. While no one was hurt, the spin cost Treux Jr. his chance of victory.
“It’s really hard to see through these windshields with the sun like that and all the stuff covering it,” Treux Jr. said.
“I did see my box late for sure, so I slowed down before I turned out of the way of the 5 (Larson) there.
“Partly on me, I didn’t expect to get turned around, and glad nobody got hurt there. Overall, just tough, just disappointing to have a good day going like that and have a shot at winning and couldn’t close the deal. I hate it for my team.
“It’s been one of those years.”
Championship contenders struggle
With only one race to go before the championship decider in Pheonix, six of the Playoffs remaining eight drivers had days to forget.
Chastain, as mentioned earlier, finished second and is the best placed to join Joey Logano, who won last week in the final four, despite Logano’s lowly 18th-place finish.
Denny Hamlin was the only other playoff contender to finish inside the Top 10, claiming seventh.
Christopher Bell finished 11th, while Sunday’s pole sitter William Byron finished 12th, Chase Elliott was 14th, and Ryan Blaney took 17th.
The final contender Chase Briscoe finished dead last in 36th meaning he has to win next Sunday to have any hope of making it into the final four.
NASCAR will reconvene next weekend for the Xfinity 500 which will be held at the Martinsville Speedway.
Dixie Vodka 400 top 10 results
|1||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||3:05’23.716|
|2||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing||+1.261|
|3||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||+1.362|
|4||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||+2.671|
|5||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||+3.739|
|6||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||+4.203|
|7||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||+4.429|
|8||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||+5.107|
|9||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||+5.372|
|10||Daniel Suarez||Trackhouse Racing||+5.694|