NASCAR 2019: Kyle Larson Wins at Dover


Kyle Larson picked a great time for his first win in more than two years. The 27-year-old driver secured a spot in the final eight of the NASCAR playoffs by leading for nearly the entire second half of Sunday's Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway, finishing more than a second ahead of Martin Truex Jr. in the first race of the Round of 12.

Denny Hamlin had the pole and dominated the first half of the race, leading for 219 laps, but was passed just before the end of the second stage.

Truex won that second stage ahead of Larson, but a slip from a crew member on Truex's pit stop put Larson in the lead on the restart following the post-stage caution. Larson took advantage, only surrendering his lead because of pit-stop timing the rest of the way.

Larson was hardly a surprise winner; he qualified second this weekend and finished fifth at Dover in the regular season. The Round of 12 races were expected to play to his strengths, with him finishing in the top five at all three tracks this year. The first playoff win of his career allows him to relax at Talladega and Kansas before the field is cut to eight drivers.

One of the other race favorites barely got his day started, however. Chase Elliott qualified fifth but ran just eight laps before an engine problem ended his day.

Joey Logano's issues began even earlier. He went to the garage with an axle problem before the green flag flew, dooming him to a 35th-place finish.