Larson dominates Stage 2, Truex takes championship lead

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Larson dominates Stage 2, Truex takes championship lead
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Nov 19, 2017, 10:11 PM

Kyle Larson made a clean sweep of the first two stages at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Start: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Pre-race flyover

Larson led 144 laps en route to his eight stage win of 2017. He beat Martin Truex Jr. to the line by .639-seconds in a 10-lap shootout after Danica Patrick triggered the third caution of the EcoBoost400.

Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10 finishes after 160 laps.

The leaders pitted on Lap 82 between segments. Larson held the point after service followed by Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Truex, Hamlin, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray and Daniel Suarez.

Larson had the outside line when the race returned to green on Lap 87. Harvick moved around Kyle Busch for second followed by Truex, Kurt Busch, Logano, Elliott, Hamlin and Kenseth. The Fords of Keselowski and Harvick battled for second in Turn 4 coming to Lap 90 but the No. 2 held the position—temporarily. Harvick completed the pass for second on Lap 93. Kyle Busch went low through Turns 3 and 4 on Keselowski on the next lap.

As Larson continued to ride the rim on Lap 96, Harvick closed to within .214-seconds on Larson—the first driver to challenge the No. 42 Chevy all day. Busch dropped to the inside of Keselowski in Turn 3 and completed the pass before the line on Lap 99.

At Lap 100, Larson’s lead was .429-seconds over Harvick followed by Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Truex, Kurt Busch, Logano, Elliott, Kenseth, Bowyer, Hamlin, McMurray, Austin Dillon, Suarez and Stenhouse—the first car, one lap down.

On Lap 104, Truex caught Keselowski on the backstretch out of Turn 2 and completed the pass for fourth. By Lap 110, Larson’s lead was 3.7-seconds over Harvick and growing. Busch caught Harvick on Lap 113 on the backstretch and completed the pass for second between Turns 3 and 4. While the Playoff contenders battled, Larson moved out to a four-second lead.

Busch ran second followed by Harvick, Truex, Keselowski, Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Logano, Hamlin and Bowyer.

Keselowski was the first Playoff driver to pit on Lap 120. Harvick came on the next lap. Larson pitted on Lap 122 and turned over the lead to Kyle Busch, who awkwardly dove onto pit road along with Truex on the next lap.

Larson cycled out to the lead again on Lap 124 followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch, Keselowkski, Kenseth, Truex Jr., Logano, Kurt Busch, Hamlin and Elliott.

Kyle Busch caught Harvick at the line on Lap 131 and passed the No. 4 Ford coming out of Turn 2. Keselowski continued to run fourth followed by Truex, Kenseth, Logano, Kurt Busch, Hamlin and Elliott. Larson held a three-second lead over Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go in the stage. Harvick, Truex and Keselowski completed the top 10.

Danica Patrick was running 18th when she lost control of her car and hit the wall in Turn 2. Kasey Kahne could not stop in time and ran into the back of the No. 10 Ford on Lap 141.

“I hit the wall in three and four and got some fender rub on the tire and it blew the tire," Patrick said. "I went a couple of laps and there was smoke in the car, but they thought it was all right, but it wasn’t.”

Larson’s lead was 3.5-seconds over Kyle Busch. Harvick, Truex, Keselowski, Kenseth, Logano, Kurt Busch, Hamlin Elliott, Bowyer, McMurray, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez remained on the lead lap. Larson led 129 of the first 144 laps. Earnhardt ran 22nd, two laps down.

Larson led the field to green on Lap 151 followed by Harvick, Kyle Busch, Truex, Kenseth, Keselowski, Logano, Kurt Busch, Elliott, Hamlin, Bowyer and Austin Dillon.

After the first lap, Larson shot out to the front followed by Truex, Harvick, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Hamlin, Logano and Elliott. Kurt Busch passed his brother for fifth on Lap 153. But two lap later, Kyle Busch passed the No. 41 Ford and then picked up fourth-place from Keselowski on the backstretch. Kurt Busch dropped to sixth followed by Kenseth, Logano, Elliott and Hamlin.

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