Monday, October 7, 2019


Kyle Larson led 154 laps and went on to win the Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway this past Sunday. The Elk Grove, California native snapped a two-year drought since his last win and locked himself into the Round of 8 for the first time in his career.

He became the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver to reach the Round of 8 and captured his first victory at Dover where he had placed in the top-five six times in his career.

“To win a playoff race, my first playoff victory is special,” Larson said after his win. “I hope there's another win in our future, especially in the next round. We'll see what we can do. I've kept saying that I felt really close to winning here or anywhere right now. Our pit crew has been doing a better job, our team has been doing a better job. I've been doing a better job. So just gotta keep it going now.”

The 27-year-old expressed that he is worry-free heading into Talladega Superspeedway next weekend and can solely begin to focus on the next round of the playoffs. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin led the most laps of the event (218 laps) and went on to finish fifth.

The No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry driver dominated the early portions of the race. With 130 laps to go, Hamilin advised his team that he was having engine issues. Despite his concern, he was still the fastest car on the mile oval.

The runner-up Martin Truex Jr. seemed to be the second-best car toward the end of the race. After finishing first at the conclusion of Stage 2, Truex lost the lead to Larson on pit road and fell short of catching him at the end of the race.

“We were catching him at the end, got close, just unfortunate there,’’ Truex said. “We win and lose as a team and the guys will clean it up for sure. Every week is about getting most points you can, so a positive day for us.’’

The top-six finishers were made up of playoff drivers which included Hamlin, Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch. For some championship contenders there were problems early on in the race.

Joey Logano faced mechanical issues as the green flag was set to wave and didn’t even begin the race. The defending champion fell short 23 laps as he played catch up all afternoon and finished in the 34th position.

“We used the playoff points we accumulated; we just have to be perfect now,” Logano said. “We have two really good racetracks coming up, though: Talladega is arguably one of our best racetracks, and I would say Kansas is as well. We just have to be perfect from here.”

Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney finished 35th while running in the top-10 most of the day. Due to a brake issue, the team was forced to take the car to the garage. Last week's winner Chase Elliott was another driver that faced adversity during the race. With less than 10 laps into the race, the No. 24 Hooters Chevy Camaro had an engine failure. Elliott now sits 11th in the playoff standing and 22 points behind the cutline.

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the 500 on Sunday, Oct. 13 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is second race in the Round of 12. Coverage starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Here are the standings going into Dover: