Kyle Larson dominates in Nashville for third straight win
Kyle Larson put in another dominating performance on Sunday as he easily won the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
The victory was the Hendrick Motorsports driver's third straight – fourth if you include the non-points All-Star race of a week ago. It was his series-best fourth victory of the season.
Larson led a race-high 264 laps.
"It was a great day," the California native said.
"We never really had to run behind people. If one of my teammates (who all had fast cars) would have got out front it would have been probably hard to pass them."
Larson's Hendrick Chevrolet Camaro was the fastest of the bunch.
"It cut the middle of the corner really well," he said of his car, adding, "Our pit crew did an awesome job."
Finishing second was Ross Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing, who entered the race having an average race finish of more than 18. The margin of victory was 4.3 seconds.
William Byron, Larson's teammate, finished third despite having to start the race at the back of the field after being penalised for unauthorised adjustments after qualifying.
Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing, who started from the pole, finished fourth.
Kevin Harvick, still looking for his first win of the season, finished fifth in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Sunday's was the first-ever Cup race at the 1.333-mile oval and the first in Nashville since 1984. The event was celebrated by sold out grandstands.
Over the final 60 laps, only two things appeared to threaten Larson's day - debris on his grill that was raising his car's water temperatures, and an iffy fuel situation. The debris issue was solved by running up behind a lapped car. The fuel dilemma was solved by going into a saving mode.
"We had enough rubber and enough fuel left over to do a burnout there at the end," Larson said.
Two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch appeared to have a car that could run with Larson through the first 200 laps as he led three times for 10 laps, but early in the final stage, Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing car began sinking until it had dropped out of the top 25. He worked his way back up to an 11th place finish.
In addition to the two yellow flags waived at the end of stages, nine cautions were called, many due to overheated brakes. The brake rotors of several cars exploded from the heat buildup.
"It's really wild with all the brake issues we've had today," said Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas, a victim of the situation.
"We were able to do the Goodyear test and knew brakes were going to be way worse than everybody else thought. We beefed them up and it still wasn't good enough, so it's unfortunate."
Next up on the schedule is a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.