Kyle Larson seems to like racing at Michigan International Speedway.
On Sunday, the Elk Grove native showed it again.
Larson took advantage of an overtime restart, squeezing between cars and racing to his third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, finishing just 0.31 seconds ahead of standings leader Martin Truex Jr. Erik Jones, Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate, was third.
“This win feels amazing to steal one in a way,” Larson told The Associated Press. “My other three wins I felt like we had the first- or second-best car, but today at times I didn’t think we were a top-10 car. But to get the win that way is awesome.”
So how did he find his way to Victory Lane?
“I have no idea,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I was running a few options through my head ... and it worked out perfectly.
“We were struggling all day, definitely not as good as we were the last two times we won here ... but we persevered.”
Truex was in front of the pack, but Michael McDowell spun out, sparking a late caution and forcing overtime.
The win came a day after Chip Ganassi allowed Larson to race in the Knoxville Nationals, a sprint car event in Iowa. He finished second to Donny Schatz.
“When you’re in my position of this past week’s activities with all the talk about Knoxville and going to Knoxville last night and not getting back here until two in the morning, I’m out on the end of the diving board there a lot of times,” Ganassi, the owner of Larson’s team that also includes driver Jamie McMurray, told AP. “So I appreciate when Kyle steps up and does what he did today. It makes it all worthwhile, obviously.”
While he came up a bit short Saturday, he took charge Sunday at a track he’s more than familiar with. Larson’s last Cup Series victory was on June 18. The track? MIS.
Overall, it’s Larson’s third victory at Michigan. He got his first career win in NASCAR’s top tier last year, winning at MIS on Aug. 28, 2016. He has four wins overall, the other coming earlier this season in Fontana. He’s also won the last three Cup races there. That’s one behind Bill Elliott, who won four in a row there between 1985 and 1986, according to AP.
The win snaps a three-race stretch of Larson finishing outside of the top 20.
The first two stages of Sunday’s race were won by Brad Keselowski and Truex.
Despite the victory, Larson remains 129 points in the standings behind Truex, who is at 933. Kyle Busch is third with 797, just seven behind Larson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.