Kyle Larson was nothing but perfection today. The 2021 NASCAR Champion is out of the playoffs, but he put together, arguably, his best race of 2022. He won the first two stages and took the checkered flag. In clean air, no one could catch the No. 5 as he surged to a dominant win on Sunday afternoon. This is his first win at the venue after leading 199 laps on the day.
This race came down to some key cautions and restarts. There was a battle between playoff drivers, non-playoff drivers, and more than a few surprises along the way.
Homestead-Miami Burnt Up Tires
The Homestead-Miami Speedway track tore up these tires. It wasn’t as bad as Texas, in fact, it provided a good competitive wrinkle. This made pit stops and restarts more important, and the intensity of those finer details was raised. Drivers love this track for many reasons, most of all, it provides good racing.
Meanwhile, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr., two drivers not in the Round of 8, drove hard and fast. Larson was dominant in the first two stages claiming the first and second stages for himself.
Chase Briscoe found himself in a hole heading into Martinsville, the No. 14 will need to win in order to make the Championship 4.
Kyle Larson Battles in Final Stage
As he did in the first two stages, Kyle Larson got out in front to start the final stage and didn’t let up. Even other drivers that had fast cars the whole day were unable to keep up with the No. 5. Whatever Hendrick Motorsports did to tune this car up, it worked. And the job Larson did driving it was nothing short of great.
A caution did come out with 56 laps to go as Ryan Blaney spun out coming off pit road during green flag stops. And the field did not give Larson any slack. They knew how fast that No. 5 was in clean air, so Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. pounced on the restart. A little side drafting from Brad Keselowski pushed Larson into 5th for a while.
It wouldn’t be long before Larson battled back to second. Then, a caution with 22 laps to go, after Tyler Reddick, spun out and hit the wall, gave new life to these other teams. It helped that Truex Jr. was spun out on pit road by the No. 5 in some inadvertent contact.
This is where some tight racing between Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain went down. This restart was interesting as Hamlin avoided any unnecessary contact with the No. 1 despite their history. Chastain would beat off the 11 to finish second on the day.
In the end, Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports just had the best car and the best driver on the day. Larson wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway and takes an automatic qualifying spot away from Ross Chastain.