Kyle Larson wins NASCAR’s opening playoff race at Darlington

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DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kyle Larson led the ultimate 55 laps to start out his newest NASCAR playoff run along with his first profession win on the Southern 500 on Sunday evening.

The 2021 Cup Collection champion robotically advances into the spherical of 12 with the win at Darlington Raceway, regardless of how he does in races at Kansas and Bristol the subsequent two weeks.

“What an effective way to start out the playoffs,” he mentioned.

Larson did not have the quickest automotive, only one that acquired out entrance on the proper time whereas different contenders fell away.

Denny Hamlin led a race-best 177 of 367 laps and seemed headed for the win earlier than he felt vibrations for what he advised his crew was a unfastened wheel and needed to pit on consecutive laps.

“We managed the race till we had some hassle,” Hamlin mentioned. “That is simply a part of it.”

Tyler Reddick led 90 laps, but misplaced the result in Larson coming off pit street. Kevin Harvick, in search of the primary victory of his last season, challenged Larson for the lead with lower than 60 laps remaining however was penalized when he couldn’t keep away from coming into the pits moments after they have been closed by NASCAR after a warning got here out.

Harvick was penalized and could not get well. He mentioned he did not have time to get again on the observe earlier than the dedication line.

It was a profitable run on the observe “Too Powerful To Tame” for Larson after a number of shut calls. He has had three seconds and two thirds in his 11 earlier Cup Collection races at Darlington. In Could, Larson was racing for the lead late when he was hit by Ross Chastain and wound up twentieth.

“This has been one among my favourite tracks my entire profession,” Larson mentioned. “Been actually, actually quick right here my entire profession, simply normally within the wall.”

“Including this trophy to the gathering is superb,” Larson continued. “That is one among three or 4 crown jewels.”

Playoff drivers took the primary seven spots. Reddick was second, adopted by Chris Buescher, William Byron, Chastain, Brad Keselowski and Bubba Wallace.

Harvick ended nineteenth and Hamlin twenty fifth. The remainder of the playoff subject was Kyle Busch in eleventh, Joey Logano in twelfth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in sixteenth, Martin Truex Jr. in 18th, pole-sitter Christopher Bell in twenty third and Michael McDowell in thirty second.

Byron, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate and co-top seed with Truex, entered with a series-best 5 victories this 12 months and was pleased with the excessive end.

“I believe it is a good stepping stone for Kansas and good to get a stable first race within the playoffs,” he mentioned.


Darlington followers, drivers and personnel mentioned goodbye to trace president Kerry Tharp, who introduced his retirement after almost 20 years with NASCAR earlier this summer time. Indicators celebrating Tharp’s eight-year tenure accountable for Darlington have been each inside and outdoors the ability. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster additionally awarded Tharp the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor governors may give.


NASCAR halted the race for seven minutes when some lights in turns three and 4 wouldn’t come on because the occasion moved from day to nighttime. A warning got here out when groups observed the lights off, and NASCAR tried to repair the issue beneath warning. Followers on the sold-out venue cheered when the lights got here on and automobiles have been quickly rolling once more. The issue got here from a switch swap that was not getting sufficient voltage to fireplace. The problem didn’t current itself through the observe’s lighting check earlier than race weekend.


The second of three opening-round races within the NASCAR playoffs takes place at Kansas Speedway on Sept. 10. Wallace took this occasion a 12 months in the past, whereas Hamlin received there in Could.

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