Kyle Larson has found his way back to two places where he’d like to spend a lot of time: Victory Lane and atop the standings.
The Elk Grove native on Sunday earned his second victory of the season in NASCAR’s top circuit, winning the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
“We’ve been so close to so many other wins. This is our second Cup win of the year, but we’ve had six second-place finishes,” Larson told Fox Sports. “All in all, it’s a good season so far and we’ll continue building on what we’ve got.”
Larson, who started on the pole Sunday, claimed control of the race during a restart with five laps left and was able to hold off Chase Elliott for the victory.
“We had a couple of opportunities to get the lead, and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out, but we'll move on. Congratulations to Kyle,” Elliott told The Associated Press. “He had a fast car today and we'll try to go get ‘em next week.”
With Sunday being Father’s Day, it’s only fitting that he celebrated the victory with his son, Owen.
Larson’s first victory in the Monster Energy Cup series came last season on this same track in Brooklyn, Mich. He won the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 28, 2016. His other victory this season came at Fontana on March 26. Both are two-mile tracks, but Larson says they’re not quite the same.
“Michigan and Fontana are very, very similar in shape and size, but the racing surface is way different,” Larson told AP. “Fontana’s rough and bumpy, and it’s wore-out surface – you have to really, really take care of your tires and move around, find different lanes that work. Here at Michigan, your tires don’t wear out quite as bad, not nearly as bad, and your line doesn’t move around a ton, but it’s really fast, got a lot of grip.
“They’re both a lot of fun.”
With Sunday’s victory, Larson reclaims the top spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. At 640 points, he has a five-point advantage on Martin Truex Jr., who won the first two stages of Sunday’s race but finished in sixth place.
Next week will be a homecoming of sorts. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be held June 25 at Sonoma Raceway, the closest NASCAR track to Elk Grove.