In what many hope will be a prelude of the main show, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott banged door to door on their way to the line with Larson winning the rain-delayed Sprint Showdown Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In a season of exciting finishes in NASCAR, the two young guns battled in the final laps of the last 10-lap segment of 50 laps to determine who will race in NASCAR All-Star event Saturday night.
“Chase got to my inside there with 2 (laps) to go and I was able to run him pretty hard there and get him loose and was hoping I could hold him off to the checkered,” Larson said. “I knew he’d get close. I didn’t know he would get that close there coming to the line. I had to squeeze him because I knew he was going to get the fan vote. He has a lot of fans. I knew Danica (Patrick) was going to get the fan vote also. And if Chase was to win, I wouldn’t be in. So, I had to do everything I could do to get to the start/finish line in first and luckily it paid off.”
On the final restart of the last 10 laps, Elliott, who led during the first 20 laps segment, restarted 10th and with four fresh tires, rocketed towards the front grabbing third by the end of the first lap. With six laps to go, Elliott got second from AJ Allmendinger. Then with two laps to go, Elliott was side by side with leader Larson. On the final lap, Elliott was able to get beside Larson as Ryan Blaney lurked nearby in third. Larson and Elliott were side by side in the final turn and exiting turn 4 and heading to the line, Elliott was on the outside with Larson on the inside. Larson moved Elliott into the wall, Elliott responded by coming down into Larson and the two cars got loose. With a loss of momentum though, Elliott lagged slightly and Larson was able to cross the line under his first NASCAR Sprint Cup checkered flag for the win.