Kyle Larson Wins HISTORY 300
Kyle Larson was the star of the show Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, picking up his second career NASCAR Nationwide win in the HISTORY 300. He outlasted a bevy of solid NASCAR veterans, including second-place finisher Brad Keselowski, third-place Kyle Busch and fourth-place Kevin Harvick.
"I knew if I could get the lead, the car would be really tough to beat," Larson said. "That's kind of how it went for us. The car was amazing all week long."
Larson led 82 laps en route to the win. He sealed his trip to Victory Circle with a perfect pit stop and restart with less than 30 laps remaining, jumping out ahead of Keselowski, Busch, Harvick and the rest of the field.
"That last restart, I was nervous," Larson said. "You know, Harvick's Harvick, and he's to my outside, and Brad (Keselowski) and Kyle (Busch) were behind me. Those are probably three of the best on late restarts. I wasn't sure if I was going to clear them all, I just knew I had to hit my marks and stay calm, and it seemed like they were getting smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror, and that's a good sight."
The veterans gave all the credit to 21-year-old Larson, who is also competing full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series this season.
"Kyle Larson was just gone," Keselowski said. "He was really fast … we just didn't have enough for him."
Keselowski and Busch had a tremendous battle for second in the closing laps, with the pair tenuously threading their way through lapped traffic - with a couple of near-misses - as they fought for the runner-up spot.
"The fastest way was around the bottom, and we couldn't make any time around the top," said Busch. "It's frustrating like that when you can't make anything happen. I thought I was way faster than him, I just didn't have enough to get by him."
KYLE LARSON (Winner, No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet) - "It was about perfect for us from the time we rolled off the truck Thursday. I was worried on that last restart because we weren't very good on short runs, and we were really good on long runs. I love Charlotte and will be back for the 600 tomorrow. (What was it like to see those veterans behind you?) It was nice seeing them in the rearview mirror and seeing them getting smaller and smaller. It shows what a great car we had. I knew if we could get the lead and have a couple long green-flag runs, we'd be good. We started off a little too tight and we made a couple of small changes and were able to free the car up enough where I could get going on the short run. It was still probably the best car on the long runs. I knew if I could get the lead, the car would be really tough to beat. That's kind of how it went for us. The car was amazing all week long. There in the practices we tweaked on it a bit and today it was great. The last restart I was a little bit nervous, you know, Harvick's Harvick, and he's to my outside, and Brad (Keselowski) and Kyle (Busch) were behind me. Those are probably three of the best on late restarts. I wasn't sure if I was going to clear them all, I just knew I had to hit my marks and stay calm, and it seemed like they were getting smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror, and that's a good sight. It was great for us, a perfect race. The trophy is awesome. It's a cool trophy, and this is one of the neatest in my collection, but we might have to fight over it."
HARRY SCOTT JR. (Car Owner, No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet) - "These guys have been in the hunt each and every week. A day like today is pretty much as perfect as you can expect from an owner's perspective. Kyle did a great job all day long. Zippy gave him a great car, and he was right on balance all day. Kyle really didn't need a whole lot from him. Our pit crew did a great job. They were on their game every stop."
SCOTT ZIPADELLI (Crew chief, No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet) - "The first run he kind of wanted to be a little freer. I was kind of thinking we might be on the splitter a little bit. On the pit stop, I made an air pressure change because that was what Kyle said. The second stop I basically went back on the air pressure change and did a few other things to get the car off the splitter. And it really worked. He took better on the front of the run and it maintained its speed on the long run too. We made some pretty good changes throughout the day. It didn't affect the handling as much as it affected the speed. It was a good day…well executed by the pit crew and Kyle. Everything went, I say, almost picture perfect."
BRAD KESELOWSKI (Second-place finisher, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford) - "Kyle Larson was just gone. He was really fast. We had a good run, just came up a bit short. The 42 (Larson) car was really strong at the end, we just didn't have enough for him. We ran in the top three all day. Lapped traffic was very difficult. You know, that's part of the deal here running the Nationwide Series. As you go down the levels of the ladder those things are going to become more of an issue. The cars out there are a handful here during the day. It's part of the game, not something you really like, but something you have to deal with when you sign up to race."
KYLE BUSCH (Third-place finisher, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota) - "It got really loose all day long. We tried to make adjustments to it… never made up any ground until it came down to our last pit stop where we were our best and were coming forward. The fastest way was around the bottom, and we couldn't make any time around the top. It's frustrating like that when you can't make anything happen. You get behind a guy and you try and pass him and the air you don't have on your car just chews up your tire life. So you start losing sight of that guy, and I did. He (Keselowski) got away from me at the end. I thought I was way faster than him, I just didn't have enough to get by him."
REGAN SMITH (New points leader, Seventh-place finisher, No. 7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet) - "I don't ever want to discount having the points lead, but it's so early. Anything can happen. You want to capitalize when that happens, but you also have to understand it comes in waves and it could go in our directions sometime."