Kyle Larson finishes off dominant run with NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Dover

DOVER, DE - JUNE 03: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Parker Store Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2017 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – Saturday’s One Main Financial 200 ended as it started – as a two-man show with polesitter Kyle Larson on top.

Larson and Ryan Blaney were in a class by themselves at Dover International Speedway in the 11th NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the season. In winning for the third time in six starts this season, Larson led 137 of the 200 laps to Blaney’s 28.

In fact, Larson now has three wins, a second and a third this season for an average finish of 2.5 – numbers that could rival those of another Kyle, XFINITY Series all-time victory leader Kyle Busch.

“Our cars have been really good on both sides, (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup and Xfinity,” Larson said. “Especially Xfinity, we’ve been extremely good. We’ve done a really good job adjusting to this new (lower-downforce) aero package.

“This is the best car I’ve had here. At a lot of the tracks we’ve gone to, it seems like this is the best Xfinity car I’ve had this time around. Just a lot of fun. Hats off to (crew chief Mike) Shiplett and the rest of the mechanics at the shop and the engineers – the real reason I’m getting to run up front more often.”

A first-time winner at Dover, Larson collected the eighth victory of his career, finishing 1.173 seconds ahead of Blaney. Third-place Daniel Suarez crossed the stripe 14.078 seconds behind the race winner.

Cole Custer ran fourth, followed by Ryan Reed and William Byron, but Byron got the biggest consolation prize. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate collected a $100,000 bonus as the highest-finishing series regular among four drivers eligible for the prize in the last of four Dash 4 Cash events this season.

But the day belonged to Larson, who led the first 63 laps and had to win a drag race with Blaney to secure victory in the first 60-lap stage. After the second stage, won by Darrell Wallace Jr., divergent pit strategies shuffled Larson and Blaney to 13th and 14th, respectively, for a restart on Lap 128.

To Blaney, that was the key moment in the race, as his No. 22 Ford lost positions in a near-wreck with Wallace and couldn’t close on Larson despite a subsequent restart on Lap 141, after Blake Koch tangled with Daniel Hemric and Brennan Poole and nosed into the inside wall.

“We almost got wrecked when the 6 (Wallace) got loose below whoever that was, the white car (the No. 90 of Brandon Brown), and that actually cost us the race,” Blaney said. “That allowed Larson to get by us, and he set sail from there, even though there was another restart.

“He was about three rows ahead of us, and I couldn’t run him down by the time I got to second.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Results OneMain Financial 200

Dover International Speedway

Dover, Delaware

Saturday, June 3, 2017

1. (1) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 200.

2. (2) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200.

3. (3) Daniel Suarez(i), Toyota, 200.

4. (14) Cole Custer #, Ford, 200.

5. (17) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200.

6. (8) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (9) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (18) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 200.

9. (6) Matt Tifft #, Toyota, 200.

10. (11) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.

11. (12) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.

12. (5) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 199.

13. (10) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 199.

14. (23) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 199.

15. (26) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 199.

16. (19) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 199.

17. (32) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 199.

18. (25) Ben Kennedy #, Chevrolet, 199.

19. (22) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 198.

20. (15) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 198.

21. (20) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 198.

22. (28) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 197.

23. (29) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 197.

24. (34) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 191.

25. (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 191.

26. (27) Jordan Anderson(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 188.

27. (33) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Track Bar, 176.

28. (7) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, Power Steering, 175.

29. (13) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, Parked, 174.

30. (21) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 170.

31. (24) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 166.

32. (16) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Steering, 135.

33. (36) David Starr, Chevrolet, 107.

34. (31) Chad Finchum, Chevrolet, Engine, 105.

35. (4) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, Engine, 100.

36. (39) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, Overheating, 99.

37. (30) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, Engine, 91.

38. (35) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 50.

39. (37) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Accident, 39.

40. (38) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Electrical, 13.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  96.709 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 04 Mins, 05 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.173 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 45 laps.

Lead Changes:  7 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson(i) 1-63; A. Dillon(i) 64-67; K. Larson(i) 68-87; R. Blaney(i) 88-115; D. Wallace Jr. 116-122; R. Reed 123-127; D. Suarez(i) 128-146; K. Larson(i) 147-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Larson(i) 3 times for 137 laps; R. Blaney(i) 1 time for 28 laps; D. Suarez(i) 1 time for 19 laps; D. Wallace Jr. 1 time for 7 laps; R. Reed 1 time for 5 laps; A. Dillon(i) 1 time for 4 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 42,22,20,9,48,1,7,6,21,16

Stage #2 Top Ten: 6,22,1,7,42,9,21,48,11,14

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.