FONTANA, Calif. — Heralded NASCAR neophyte Kyle Larson finally had his day in the sun.
When a cloud cover lifted with roughly 50 laps left in Saturday's Treatmyclot.com 300 NASCAR Nationwide race at Auto Club Speedway, Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet came to life for his first series victory.
Larson, who had been second five times in 37 previous series starts, grabbed the lead after a restart on Lap 135 of 150 and held on after a battle against Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Larson, 21, was 0.342 seconds ahead of Harvick, who edged Busch for second by 0.04 seconds.
"I'm shaking still; this is awesome," said Larson, who got an ice-water bath in Victory Lane. "I thought maybe we could get away (after the last restart), but the 54 (Busch) and 5 (Harvick) were really good behind us, and I had to race with those guys.
"Man, it was amazing. Those last 11 or 12 laps were the longest laps of my life."
Larson, Busch and Harvick spent the last 16 laps dicing for position, with Busch leading Lap 145 before Larson charged back past him on the outside.
"The fans won today," Busch said of the electric atmosphere in the closing laps.
Busch, who had to start in the back after his car failed inspection in qualifying, advanced to 25th on the first lap and was 16th by the time he completed the second-green flag lap.