Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

Larson wins NASCAR Cup race to sweep Fontana weekend

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FONTANA, Calif. — Kyle Larson was second to nobody in his home state.

Larson persevered through four late restarts to win the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, adding his second career victory to his overall Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series points lead.

Larson finished second in each of the past three races, but the Sacramento-area native's Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet with an average speed of 136.370 mph was the class of the field at Auto Club Speedway for the second straight day. He also won the Xfinity Service King 300 on Saturday, completing a clean sweep of the weekend.

"This is just amazing," Larson said. "We have been so good all year long, three seconds in a row. I've been watching all the TV, like, 'He doesn't know how to win.' But we knew how to win (Sunday), so that was good."

Faced with the late jockeying typical to the five-wide asphalt on Fontana's bumpy 2-mile track, Larson was persistent and tenacious. Surging up from fourth to first with four new tires before the final caution, he made one last restart and cruised through two overtime laps to win.

Brad Keselowski was second, and Clint Bowyer was third for his best finish since June 2015 and his first top-five finish in 52 races. Martin Truex was fourth, and Joey Logano roared up to fifth.

Larson is only the second driver in Fontana history to win from the pole, joining six-time race champion Jimmie Johnson, who did it in 2008.

The 24-year-old prodigy added the Fontana win to his other career victory last season at Brooklyn, Mich.

"He's on a really nice roll, and it takes everything," Keselowski said. "This is a sport of speed, execution and luck, and when you're on a roll like that, you've got all three on your side."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th in his landmark 600th NASCAR start, becoming just the 25th driver to hit the mark.

FORMULA ONE: Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari won the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 1 hour, 24 minutes and 11.672 seconds, almost 10 seconds clear of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari hadn't won in F1 since Vettel's victory in Singapore in Sept. 2015. Vettel took the lead when Hamilton pitted for new tires on lap 18 and then got stuck in traffic. "That's motor racing," Hamilton said, adding it was his decision to pit and change tires.

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