Another solid run leaves Kyle Larson near the series lead

LAS VEGAS – Those looking for an in-depth understanding of NASCAR’s stage-based competition format can take a lesson from Kyle Larson.

With his runner-up finish in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson recorded his second straight second-place run in the young Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

The driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet is leaving Las Vegas second in the series standings, trailing Brad Keselowski by a single point. Interestingly, Larson and Keselowski are the only two drivers who have scored points by finishing in the top 10 in each of the first two stages in all three races this season.

Keselowski won last week at Atlanta. Larson is seeking his first win of the year after securing his first career victory at Michigan last year.

Larson trailed Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line at Las Vegas as Joey Logano and Kyle Busch battled for third and eventually tried to settle their differences with fisticuffs on pit road, with Busch aiming a haymaker at Logano’s head.

Larson was close enough to see the post-race action but was happy not to be involved.

“Yeah, no fist flying for me,” Larson said. “That was exciting right there, but no, awesome day for our Target team. Second in the first stage, third in the second stage and then finished second in the race. I can’t say enough about my team. I’m so proud of them. Our race cars are amazing right now. We’re going to hopefully keep building on what we’ve got and keep challenging for wins, and they will come.

“Had a lot of fun today. Had a bad restart there after the second stage and lost a lot of track position, but was able to get a good restart there on that last one. Brad, I think he was blowing up or something  and (I) got lucky there and got second (when Keselowski had a mechanical problem late in the race). Back-to-back seconds – we would like to have back-to-back wins, but this is pretty awesome.”

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