May 19, 2019 / 3:01 AM / a month ago

Larson qualifies late, wins All-Star race

May 18, 2019; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (42) celebrates with his son Owen after winning the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Larson woke up Saturday morning not knowing if he would make the field for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. He ended the day by winning the four-stage, 88-lap All-Star race.

Larson, who had to win a stage in the Monster Energy Open qualifying race earlier in the evening to earn a berth in the All-Star event, took the lead with 12 laps to go, held off series’ superstars Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch and got his first victory of any kind in 2019 in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

Asked what he was going to do with the $1 million that goes to the race winner, Larson said, “I don’t know. I really didn’t have any plans.”

Harvick, winless in 2019’s points-paying races after winning eight times a year ago, finished second after leading a race-best 33 laps.

Busch, a three time winner this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third.

Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano of Team Penske and Bubba Wallace, who, like Larson, needed to win a stage in the Open to get into the main event.

Busch took the lead in overtime in the scheduled 30-lap first stage, held off Harvick and won the stage. Harvick won the 20-lap second stage by almost 2 seconds over Logano after taking the lead from Busch on a restart with 14 laps to go. Logano dominated in winning the third stage, also a 20-lapper.

The four-stage race began with 19 cars on the 1.5-mile track. In those cars were drivers who had either won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2018-19, had won a past All-Star race or had won a Cup championship in the past.

Three other drivers — Larson, Wallace and William Byron — were added to the field after winning one of the three stages in the Open qualifying race earlier in the evening. One final driver — Alex Bowman — earned a berth as the result of a fan vote.

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