The Kyle Larson redemption tour, otherwise known as the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, rolled through the Lone Star State today as Larson won the annual All-Star Race in its first-ever running at Texas Motor Speedway. Larson, who this time last year looked to be finished in the sport after a racial epithet incident for which he has made major amends, won in thrilling fashion over Brad Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in an action-packed final round of stock car racing at its finest.
The event started with the All-Star Open, its field made up of those drivers who did not automatically qualify for the main event. In the pre-stage (now called round) racing days, the winner of this race went into the actual All-Star race, but now each round winner qualifies. The Open was divided into three rounds, the first two of twenty lap duration and the third ten laps.
The track temperature was a mild 145 degrees at the beginning of the first round. Josh Reddick, who started on the pole, was almost immediately passed by Chris Buescher for the lead. As it turned out, it was too quickly, as NASCAR called Buescher for jumping the start and ordered him to do a pass-through (drive through pit road at reduced speed) penalty. On the fourth lap Bubba Wallace, who was running fourth at the time, spun out in turn two, bringing out the race’s first caution.
The round resumed with twelve laps to go. Reddick maintained his lead, followed closely by Chase Briscoe. On the subsequent lap Buescher, who was back in the pack, spun out with some assistance from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., bringing out a caution. It would not be the last.
The green flag once again flew in the blistering Texas breeze with seven laps to go. It didn’t fly long, as shortly thereafter Erik Jones and Briscoe entered turn three side by side. Briscoe, on the inside, lost control and spun out, damaging his car and Daniel Suarez’ who was in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time. Caution (again).
The round resumed with
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