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NASCAR Xfinity: Kyle Larson goes from back to front for Chicagoland win

JOLIET, IL – JUNE 30: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Overton’s 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Larson raced from the back to the front and led 80 laps of the 200-lap Overton’s 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday en route to his second win in three series starts, so far, in 2018.

“There’s always hope with this team,” Larson said. “There’s been a lot times I’ve felt like I’m not good in practice and then (crew chief Mike) Shiplett and all the guys make it a lot better in the race, so hat’s off to them.”

Fellow-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Kevin Harvick, finished a distance second, about eight seconds behind Larson.

“The handling was great on the last stop, probably better than it was the stop before,” Harvick said. “We were just a (lap) 1-25 (car) and not a 25-50.”

Larson qualified on the pole earlier in the day Saturday but had to start in the back after making a tire change after qualifying. He was sixth in the running order by the end of the first stage that ended on lap 45. He took his first lead on lap 72 and won the second 45-lap stage.

Tyler Reddick was the winner of the opening stage. He was up front at the start of the race when Larson dropped to the back. Reddick, then, led all but 13 laps of the opening stage. The other 13 laps were led by Daniel Suarez, who took the lead from Reddick on lap 12 and led until Reddick returned to the position on lap 25.

Reddick was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty during the caution at the end of the second stage. A few laps later he was part of a three-car incident, also involving Ryan Reed and Jeb Burton.

Harvick and Larson combined to lead most of the third stage that consisted of the final 110 laps of the race. After a green-flag cycle of pit stops completed when Brandon Jones headed for pit road with 20 laps remaining, Larson was up front with a 10-second lead on Harvick.

Cole Custer finished third after, like Larson, starting in the back because of a tire change before the race. With the top-three finish, Custer replaced Elliott Sadler as the Xfinity Series championship points leader.

“It was a great car,” Custer said. “All our guys on the Haas Automation Mustang did great. I just hate that I missed the box that last corner. I think that is all on me. I don’t know that we would have caught Kyle, but we would have gotten one more spot. It is what it is. We will just move on.”

With a sixth-place race finish, Sadler dropped to third in points, also losing a spot in the standings to Daniel Hemric, who finished fifth.

Suarez finished fourth Saturday. Other top-10 finishers included Justin Allgaier was seventh, Paul Menard eighth, Chase Briscoe ninth, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-10.

After racing in the extreme heat, Michael Annett and Chase Elliott were treated and released from the infield care center. After leaving the care center, Elliott prepared to qualify his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car for Sunday’s Overton’s 400.

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Posted by on June 30, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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