Larson holds on to win Federated Auto Parts 400
RICHMOND, Va. -- Kyle Larson got off pit road ahead of Martin Truex Jr. during a late-race caution at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night that sent the Federated Auto Parts 400 into overtime. Larson then held on to the lead for his fourth win of the season in the 2017 regular-season finale.
After leading nearly half the race, Truex ran head-on into the wall on the final lap, trying to regain the lead from Larson.
Joey Logano fell one position shy of making the playoffs with a runner-up race finish. Ryan Newman finished third, Kurt Busch was fourth, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.
With a repeat winner in victory lane, the three drivers who were in provisional playoff advancing position by virtue of points -- Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray -- will be among the 16 drivers in the playoffs when they kick off Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Had there been a new 2017 race winner, other than Elliott or McMurray, Kenseth would've been the driver knocked out of a playoff spot after retiring from the race just past lap 250. When the yellow flag waved for an incident between Danica Patrick and Austin, an ambulance at the entrance of pit road created a bunch-up among three drivers trying to get into the pits.
Kenseth's car sustained the most damage, and as a result, he was only the second driver out of the race. Others receiving damage in the incident able to continue were Clint Bowyer and Logano.
Truex lost the lead on pit road during the same caution, the fifth of the race. Larson and Brad Keselowski restarted on the front row, but with 100 laps to go, Truex was back up front.
As the result of a lack of late-race cautions, a green-flag cycle of pit stops kicked off with a handful of drivers short-pitting just past lap 315.
Truex, though, waited until lap 334 pit. Keselowski cycled to the race lead after pitting 14 laps before Truex. But after Truex got his new set of tires, he closed on Keselowski, retaking the lead on lap 354 and pulling away. Larson also got by Keselowski to take second.
Truex was the winner at lap 200, the halfway point. As a result, he was the stage two winner, claiming his 18th stage win of the season.
Kyle Busch won the first 100-lap stage of the race, even though Kenseth dominated the opening stage, leading the first 89 laps of the race after starting on the pole.
Kenseth lost the lead with three drivers -- Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Paul Menard -- stayed out during the first caution of the race that came out on lap 87.
When the race returned to green, the drivers who stayed out fell back, and Busch moved into the lead. Busch momentarily gave up the lead when Ryan Newman elected to stay out during the caution between the first two stages, but when the race restarted, Busch retook the top spot.
Larson quickly took the lead from Busch, but Busch retook it on lap 129. Truex took the lead inside the final 50 laps of the second stage.
NOTES: Denny Hamlin is the defending winner of the Federated Auto Parts 400. ... Joey Logano won the first 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, but that win was classified as "encumbered" by NASCAR, because the car violated a rear suspension rule. As a result, that Richmond win couldn't be counted on for playoff entry. ... Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond on Friday night. Kyle Busch finished second after leading 182 laps of the 250 that made up that race.