Larson Holds Off Keselowski for Texas Xfinity Series Win

Kyle Larson wins at Texas
Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

Grabbing the lead after a restart on Lap 171 of 200, Kyle Larson moved to the top of the track just in time to hold off polesitter Brad Keselowski for the victory in Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.

In a race that saw Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez open some breathing room in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase with respective fourth- and fifth-place finishes, Larson got a push from sixth-place finisher Elliott Sadler on the decisive restart and kept Keselowski behind him for the final 30 laps.

Despite brushing the outside wall in Turn 1 with eight laps left, Larson's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet got to the finish line .385 seconds ahead of Keselowski's No. 22 Team Penske Ford, as the winner worked traffic over the closing five laps.

"I love seeing Elliott Sadler behind me on the restarts," said Larson, who won for the first time at Texas, the second time this season and the fifth time in his career. "He's really good at taking off and pushing. He helped me win Pocono earlier this year, and he helped me win this one.

"I was just really tight on the short runs in traffic there, but once I got to clean air, I was like, ‘Oh, man, I'm loose,' and I got nervous and got to the top just in time to get rolling. I actually got loose over the bumps and hit the wall in (Turn) 1. But I had a big enough gap when I hit the wall that he wasn't able to get to me."

In fact, the brush with the wall helped to tighten the handling condition of Larson's car and made it easier to drive.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] Seeking his first XFINITY Series victory of the season, Keselowski led 145 laps and was delighted with the speed in his car. But that emotion was tempered by the disappointment of losing a race with perhaps the fastest car.

"Whatever car got out in front, with the way the aerodynamics are, was going to control the pace," Keselowski said. "It's so hard to pass because the aero is so important and the cars are so equal that way.

"I thought maybe we were just a touch faster, but without the track position, you lose too much grip behind the guy to do anything."

NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Kevin Harvick finished third, more than five seconds behind the two frontrunners.

Suarez took over the Chase lead by one point over Sadler and 17 clear of fifth-place Justin Allgaier, with a cut to the top four drivers looming next Saturday at Phoenix. Jones gained two positions to third place, seven points ahead of Allgaier.

One point separates fourth-place Blake Koch (14th Saturday) from Allgaier, who came home 10th at the 1.5-mile track.

"It was one of the first good points days we've had in this Chase," Jones said. "It was a good, solid day–what we needed to do. We want to go, obviously, and try to win these races, but we just didn't have the car to do it today."

Ryan Reed, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Brendan Gaughan are sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Chase standings. Reed trails Koch by five points entering the Phoenix race, with Wallace behind by 20 and Gaughan 23 back of the current cut line.

Race Results

Pos. # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status Points
1 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 5 200 30 Running 0
2 22 Brad Keselowski Ford 1 200 145 Running 0
3 88 Kevin Harvick Chevy 9 200 0 Running 0
4 20 Erik Jones Toyota 2 200 23 Running 38
5 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 4 200 0 Running 36
6 1 Elliott Sadler Chevy 8 200 0 Running 35
7 2 Austin Dillon Chevy 7 200 0 Running 0
8 48 Brennan Poole Chevy 10 200 2 Running 34
9 18 Matt Tifft Toyota 3 200 0 Running 0
10 7 Justin Allgaier Chevy 6 200 0 Running 31
11 6 Darrell Wallace Jr Ford 18 200 0 Running 30
12 16 Ryan Reed Ford 13 200 0 Running 29
13 39 Ryan Sieg Chevy 14 200 0 Running 28
14 11 Blake Koch Chevy 12 200 0 Running 27
15 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevy 16 200 0 Running 26
16 3 Ty Dillon Chevy 17 200 0 Running 25
17 44 J.J. Yeley Toyota 20 200 0 Running 24
18 51 Jeremy Clements Chevy 21 199 0 Running 23
19 33 Brandon Jones Chevy 11 199 0 Running 22
20 28 Dakoda Armstrong Toyota 19 199 0 Running 21
21 4 Ross Chastain Chevy 15 198 0 Running 20
22 01 Ryan Preece Chevy 25 197 0 Running 19
23 24 Corey Lajoie Toyota 23 196 0 Running 18
24 93 David Starr Chevy 26 196 0 Running 17
25 0 Garrett Smithley Chevy 27 196 0 Running 16
26 15 Clint King Ford 30 196 0 Running 15
27 07 Ray Black Jr Chevy 24 194 0 Running 14
28 78 B J McLeod Ford 28 193 0 Running 13
29 25 Austin Theriault Chevy 29 192 0 Running 0
30 90 Martin Roy Chevy 35 190 0 Running 11
31 52 Joey Gase Chevy 34 190 0 Running 10
32 74 Mike Harmon Dodge 36 185 0 Running 9
33 97 Ryan Ellis Chevy 38 185 0 Running 8
34 77 Matt Waltz Chevy 40 184 0 Running 7
35 13 Brandon Hightower Dodge 37 130 0 Engine 6
36 14 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 22 129 0 Accident 0
37 70 Dexter Stacey Chevy 32 80 0 Handling 4
38 40 Timmy Hill Toyota 39 24 0 Suspension 0
39 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevy 33 19 0 Handling 2
40 10 Jeff Green Toyota 31 1 0 Brakes 1

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