Kyle Larson has broken through for his first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup taking the chequered flag at the Pure Michigan 400.
He is the 13th different driver to win a race this season and firmly planted himself among those vying for the 16-car field in the Chase.
Larson beat home another young star in Chase Elliott after a restart with 10 laps to go. Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet appeared to get loose and this allowed Larson a clear run through to victory in his 99th Cup Series start.
“We both spun our tyres really good,” said Larson.
“The 2 car (Brad Keselowski) — he pushed me really good. He could have pulled underneath and got by, but he stayed with me and got me the lead. So thanks to him. I’m still at a loss for words.”
Larson dedicated the win to his friend the late Bryan Clauson, who died earlier this month after an accident in a midget race in Kansas.
”I was tearing up those last few laps because I was feeling that was finally going to be it; we weren’t going to have a caution,” said Larson.
“This one’s for the Clauson family. We’re really missing Bryan. We love you guys. We parked it for him so that was really cool.”
Larson, who received congratulations from team owner Chip Ganassi and several fellow drivers as he kissed girlfriend Katelyn Sweet and son Owen, sealed the win on the final restart. He had Elliott and Brad Keselowski pushing hard off the line.
Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and series points leader Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five finishers at the 2-mile track.
Larson led a race-high 41 laps, followed by Jimmie Johnson, who led 37 laps and finished sixth.
The race featured the third time NASCAR used the 2017 low-downforce package to gather information for next season.
Only two races remain ahead of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup with the series heading to the famous Darlington Raceway and the Southern 500 next weekend.