Kyle Larson turned in a dominating effort to win his third All-Star race and win $1 million Sunday night in the Cup Series return to North Wilkesboro Speedway after a 27-year absence.
Larson became the fourth driver to win the All-Star race at least three times. Jimmie Johnson has the most with four wins, while Larson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt have three.
Larson is the first to win the All-Star race at three different tracks, having also won at Charlotte in 2019 and Texas in 2021.
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He celebrated with a full exhausting lap around the .625-mile track as Hendrick Motorsports won his 11th All-Star race.
Bubba Wallace finished second in the 200-lap exhibition race with no points, followed by Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Chase Elliott.
But only Larson collected prize money in the winner-take-all event.
Larson overcame an early speeding penalty on lap 24 and ran away from the field.
After being sent to the back of the field on lap 24, he drove his No. 5 Chevrolet past 16 cars on fresh tires, including pole winner Daniel Suárez, on lap 56 to take the lead. Larson went on to build an 11-second lead before the first competition caution on lap 100.
The race caution did not stop Larson, who was never seriously challenged in the second half of the race.
If fans came to see the accidents, they left disappointed.
There weren’t any.
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And the only pass they saw for the lead was Larson passing Suárez.
North Wilkesboro Speedway’s repaired asphalt track held up fairly well after a week of racing despite not having been paved in over three decades.
The track, which lay mostly idle and overgrown, was restored with the help of Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith and Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season.
Suarez and Chris Buescher started on the front row for the All-Star race after winning their 60-lap series on Saturday night, when NASCAR first experimented with wet-weather tires on Cup cars.
Suárez dominated from the start, leading the first 55 laps of the race, while Buescher quickly lost his pace early, falling to tenth after just five laps when he got stuck on the outside.
Kevin Harvick, who will retire after the season, drove the retro No. 29 car in the white paint scheme for the last time.
It’s the same car the two-time All-Star Game winner began his career in after taking Dale Earnhardt’s place with Richard Childress following Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Harvick normally runs the No. 4 for Stewart-Haas Racing, but SHR has reached an agreement with RCR to allow him to run the No. 29 car.
Earlier in the day, Josh Berry won the All-Star Open to advance to the All-Star race along with second-place finisher Ty Gibbs and fan-voting winner Noah Gragson. Berry took the lead with 23 laps remaining when he passed Gibbs on the inside pad.
«It’s great, very special to be here,» Gibbs said. «It wasn’t alive when they raced here, but it’s really cool. It’s a worn track, but it’s fun. I’m just looking for patches, looking for grip.»
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There were two crashes in the open race, including one involving Michael McDowell and Justin Haley, who were in the top five at the time before Gibbs hit McDowell.