American Racing

NASCAR: Larson Gets Back To Back Win at Sonoma

Another step towards redemption for Kyle Larson.

2020 was not kind to Kyle Larson. A racial slur incident in the middle of the pandemic cost him his ride. Sunday, he took a step towards redemption with a dominant performance at Sonoma Raceway.

Larson Goes Racing

NASCAR’s third road course race of the year kicked off smoothly on a track that the series has known for quite some time now. Christopher Bell was the first to take to pit road. He did not come in for times but, to get people under his hood as he was dealing with ECU problems from the very start. Our first caution came in on lap 10 as part of a competition yellow flag which most teams used to dive into the pits.

When all was set and done, Kyle Larson took the first postseason points of the evening.

Another Stage in the Books

Kurt Busch found himself leading the race early on the second stage. Busch is known to know how to race road course and he was showing it at the top of the pack. Matt DiBenedetto was behind followed by a battle for third place.

Unlike the race at COTA, visibility was pretty good, and cars didn’t struggle to stay on track. Nonetheless, tires shed more quickly than a baby snake at Sonoma’s turns. Average tire life was around 67 laps, times went up like a skyscraper after that.

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Chase Elliott didn’t find much room at the front, e sat sixth midway through the stage and while he didn’t lose his spot, he didn’t gain any either. Ricky Stenhouse jr. hit the wall nose first causing a yellow flag to come out with 10 to go in the second part of the race.

The lead reshuffled after a quick pitstop and the lead of the race was once again in Larson’s hands. Hendrick’s number 5 its worth mentioning not just for the lead but, also because he remains sponsorless. A little bit over the midseason point still advertises Hendrick’s own car rental services. Last but not least, he was already running away with the top spot 1.6 seconds ahead of the rest.

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Larson won the second stage. His 12th stage of the season, he did so by an astonishing 6.1 seconds ahead of Joey Logano.

A (Sort of) Wild Finish

The final stage of the race showed up something extremely important: Coasting is key. Case and point, Larson himself. His tires’ condition (And lap times) stayed far more consistent than his fellow drivers. That was thanks to lifting off the gas every once in a while. All he had to do was to keep doing that to get his third win of the season.

Things, however, were not as easy. Kyle Larson found himself 16th but it took him no time to get back into 2nd. Chase Elliott held on to the lead for a good lap and a half, but eventually, let go of it. The #5 Camaro headed for pits with 26 and rejoined third to immediately pass the elder of the Busch brothers. He was set to get the win but, yet again things wouldn’t come off as easily. Quinn Houff’s blown engine reduced Larson’s 2 seconds lead to nothing as he headed for fuel and tires.

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Logano took the lead on the restart but was eventually caught up with the number 5 car. He was passed as if standing still. Horses were let loose for only two laps as Kevin Harvick bumped into Ross Chastain who he himself tried to avoid Corey Lajoie who had spun right in front of him. Larson and Logano faced each other on another restart.

There was not much of a fight as the seemingly unstoppable Larson went right past him as soon as the green flag dropped. Larson managed to pull off a 2.9 seconds lead before the race was cautioned yet another two more times until we arrived at NASCAR’s Overtime: A two-lap shootout for the win.

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The former Ganassi driver met one last time with the defending champ, and it proved to be quite anti-climactic. Elliott fought on the turns, but his rival was too much for him. Larson, who was out of a job last October, has won in back-to-back weekends, dominating Sonoma, and taking home his third win of the season.

WHat’s Next for NASCAR?

Next stop for the NASCAR Cup Series will be the Texas oval. Texas Motor Speedway will play host to all three series next weekend and, action will kick off Friday with the Truck Series.

Missed last week’s race? Check it out HERE   

Feature Image: Getty Images 

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