Kyle Larson steamed to his third victory of the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday, making a bold move in an overtime restart for his third straight Michigan International Speedway win.
Larson led only the last two laps of the 202-lap event in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet, diving past Martin Truex Jr. in a major jumble near the front of the pack on the final green-flag stint. His third win on the 2-mile track was the fourth of his career in NASCAR’s top division.
“This win feels amazing to steal one in a way,” Larson said, “and my other three wins I felt like we had the first- or second-best car, but today at times I didn’t think we were a top-10 car. But to get the win that way is awesome.”
Truex came home in second place, his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota just .310 seconds behind at the end of the Pure Michigan 400. Truex led three times for 57 laps, but was bitten when a late-race incident forced a red flag and sent the race past regulation.
“We got beat fair and square,” Truex said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. Double‑file restarts are tricky, and I had good restarts all day I felt like, and we had that red flag for the first time and really just sat there while I got the tires cold and then only had one lap to come to the green and get some heat back in them, and I just struggled getting going, just spun the tires. I didn’t really expect it because I hadn’t had any trouble with that all day.”
That late caution period — for a Lap 196 wreck involving Paul Menard and Michael McDowell — sent the race past its scheduled distance, giving NASCAR’s new rules governing overtime their first field test. Competition officials made the switch Aug. 2, indicating that the start-finish line would replace the former overtime line near a track’s midpoint to rule a race complete.
Rookie Erik Jones, Truex’s teammate, led five laps and matched a career-best finish in third. Ryan Newman was fourth with Trevor Bayne and Chris Buescher both posting season-best finishes to round out the top six.
Pole-starter Brad Keselowski, an early dominator who led 103 of the first 110 laps and 105 laps overall, faded to a 17th-place finish in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. He also added a playoff point to his tally with his fourth stage win of the year in the opening 60-lap stretch.
“It just didn’t come together there at the end, but it was nice to lead a bunch of laps,” Keselowski said. “That was good and something I was really proud of, but I just didn’t have enough to really run with the 77 (Jones) and the 78 (Truex).”
Truex also added to his playoff point stockpile with his 15th stage win of the year at the Lap 120 break.
The race was incident-free until a Lap 139 crack-up involving Kasey Kahne and Daniel Suarez. Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet slid up into the path of Suarez’s Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, and both cars made heavy contact with the outside retaining wall.
Suarez finished 37th in the 39-car field, with Kahne 38th.
The series’ next race is scheduled Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) at Bristol Motor Speedway. Just three regular-season races remain before the playoff field of 16 drivers is set.