Kyle Larson picks up his first Bristol win in the Xfinity Series Food City 300

Kyle LarsonDespite Kyle Busch taking the pole for Friday night’s Xfinity series race, it was the other Kyle, Larson that is, who took the spotlight with a big win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 at The Last Great Colosseum, Bristol Motor Speedway, on Friday night.

The DC Solar Chevy Camaro driver placed third in qualifying on the afternoon and rolled off the starting grid looking to move to the top spot and take over.

Larson took the first two stages and led 202 of 310 laps of the Food City 300.  A late race caution with three laps remaining for an incident involving Daniel Hemric, the eighth of the race, cast doubts on a Larson win like the late evening shadows over Bristol Motor Speedway.

The question was could Larson survive the restart based upon Xfinity series regular Justin Allgaier’s history on restarts and take his first win ever on the high banks of Bristol. When the race resumed in overtime, Larson fought off a win hungry group of Xfinity regulars in Christopher Bell, as Bell in the no. 20 Toyota Camry passed Allgaier in the JR Motorsports Chevy on the final lap to finish second and Allgaier coming in third with Cole Custer in the 00 Ford Mustang finishing fourth.  Monster Cup series regular Joey Logano finished in the top-five in the No. 22 Ford Mustang.

The win was the first for Larson at the .533-mile in his NASCAR national series career. Larson also chalked up his fourth Xfinity Series win of the 2018 season and the 12th of his career.

After his burnout on the front stretch and a right turn “Alan Kulwicki-style” victory lap around the high banks, Larson made his way to Victory Lane at BMS and proceeded to shake the hand of every crew member on the Chip Ganassi Xfinity Series Chevy Camaro before going to interviews with the media.

The victory capped off Larson’s last Xfinity race of the season and the handshake was a salute from the driver to the crew on their winning performance of the night.

“They gave me a heck of race car,” replied Larson.

But the race winner couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have Kyle Busch in the mix at the end as the night did not end well as it started for pole-sitter Busch.

Last year’s race weekend sweeper led the first 69 laps of the Food City 300 but contact in the form of several hard brushes with the wall, forced Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the garage after an upper arm failure in the right-front tire.

“I wish Kyle Busch wouldn’t have had his troubles so I could have raced him,” said Larson.

“It still feels really, really cool to win a race here…finally. I’ve been close so many times and this is my best race track by far, this and Homestead.”

Larson added, “I’m really excited and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Larson will go for the weekend sweep of the Xfinity and Monster Cup race on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Larson took the pole in qualifying for the Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race earlier in the afternoon.

Not long after Larson’s victory, the rain started to fall at BMS.  Weather concerns forced track officials to move up the start time of the Food City 300 on Friday and in turn, NASCAR and track officials have moved up the start time for Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway to 6:30 p.m. ET because of the potential for inclement weather.

Food City 300 Finishing Order – pos. 1-10

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Christopher Bell
  3. Justin Allgaier
  4. Cole Custer
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Elliott Sadler
  7. Michael Annett
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Tyler Reddick
  10. Matt Tifft

By Rod Mullins | Augusta Free Press

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