HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kyle Larson continued his goal of playing spoiler during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale by completing a sweep of the first two stages in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Larson led the field back to green on lap 85 after the first stage break and never trailed despite a 10-lap shootout to the finish, taking the second green-checkered flag of the day six car lengths clear of Martin Truex Jr.
Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski started the points battle off strong following the restart, but faded over the course of the run and lost second on-track to Harvick on the 93rd round, dropping out of the provisional points lead as well.
Harvick then held the prime position among the championship contenders until lap 114, when Kyle Busch stormed by to take over the lead in the title race, but green flag pit stops halfway through the stage shuffled the deck and meant that Harvick cycled back around Busch at the conclusion of service.
Busch was nearly pinned out by Ryan Blaney as he came to pit road, while Truex’s crew had a slow stop after trouble changing the left rear tire and the No. 78 Toyota dropped to eighth on-track and last in the title chase.
Eventually, Busch was able to rally back around Harvick to reclaim second on-track and the points lead on lap 132, all while Truex chased down and finally took fourth from Keselowski six laps later.
However, the stage was thrown into turmoil when Danica Patrick slammed the wall in turn two and the car burst into flames, with Kasey Kahne sliding into the back of the No. 10 Ford and both cars crashing out of the event.
The yellow sent the entire field to pit road for fuel and tires, with Larson holding the lead off pit road and all four of the title contenders following inside the top six.
Larson took off on the restart as Truex surged around the outside of Harvick to move into second, with that order holding through the caution for the second stage break.
Busch and Keselowski completed the top five in the running order.
Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin were the rest of the points-scoring drivers in the top 10 at the second stage break.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network, as well as a periodic contributor to SPEED SPORT Magazine.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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