Kyle Larson avoided a late incident on pit road and sped away on the final restart in a dominant victory Sunday in the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
After Tyler Reddick’s wreck with 23 laps to go brought out the fifth caution, race leader Martin Truex Jr. was spun on pit road by second-place Larson. Truex’s No. 19 Toyota came to rest backwards in his stall, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver restarted 19th.
“I was right behind him,” said Larson, who led 199 of the 267 laps and won for the third time. “He took a hard left and was hard on the brakes at the same time. I ran into the back of him. My team said he was late turning into his stall.”
Winless on the season, Truex brought his Camry home in sixth.
“It’s hard to see through the windshields with the sun like that and the stuff covering it,” Truex said. “I did see my box late, for sure, so it’s partly on me. But I didn’t expect to get turned around.”
Rounding out the top five were title contender Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.
In the playoff standings, Joey Logano leads with a win, followed by Chastain (+19 points), Chase Elliott (+11 points) and William Byron (+5).
The four drivers below the cut line going to the final Round of 8 race at Martinsville Speedway’s short track are Denny Hamlin (-5), Ryan Blaney (-18), Christopher Bell (-33) and Chase Briscoe (-44).
Eliminated from repeating as the Cup champion at the Charlotte Roval two weeks ago, Larson dug in and beat Byron to the stripe by eight seconds for the Stage 1 win. Byron, Elliott, Blaney and Logano were the only contenders to get bonus stage points.
In the second stage, Larson received little threat from any car, pulling away to another sizable margin. However, with five laps left in the segment, Briscoe banged the Turn 2 wall hard and created a huge issue for himself on his No. 14 Ford.
For the eighth time in his career, Larson swept the first two stages by taking the checkers under caution, but Briscoe went to the garage and retired from the race.
“Just cruising and trying to get to the caution there in a couple of laps. I went into (Turn 1) and it was like I hit ice,” said Briscoe of the Lap 161 incident. “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever just crashed by myself. Embarrassing on that side, and of all the time for it to happen, that’s not when we needed it to happen.”
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver finished in 36th and finds himself in a must-win situation at Martinsville.