When a feel-good story comes about in NASCAR these days, it’s a big deal. It’s when someone unexpected takes the victory, and it puts them in the spotlight. That’s what happened when Trevor Bayne shocked everyone in 2011 with his victory in the Daytona 500.
It’s overcoming adversity, whether personal or professional, or even both. That is what happened earlier this season when Martin Truex Jr. not only won at Charlotte, but flat out could barely be contained the entire race. He did so while his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, had finally overcame cancer to see him succeed, while he himself saw bad luck happen time and time again over the season.
Then came Sunday at Michigan, a moment that all knew would happen, but came later than anyone expected.
Kyle Larson came into the top series on fire, after having great success in the trucks and Xfinity Series. He would continue to show that his young talent would be seen at the top tier. He competed against drivers he met when he was just a child, and on occasion actually was beating them. But he never saw the taste of victory.
After all that he had been through, but still having all the belief from his team and his competition, he knew the circumstances would fall in place.
Finally, they did.
When he took the checkered flag, the young man he beat was a second-generation driver, in his rookie season. The next driver in line, a former champion. But as he burned the tires down in celebration, everyone on the radio and in the stands could feel the emotion of what he did on this day. When he came to a stop, climbed from his car and stood on the roof, it was as if he showed that he conquered the world, and his personal goal of getting to victory in the top tier in NASCAR.
Driver after driver walked to victory lane, shaking his hand, patting him on the back, and giving praise for the effort he gave not just on this day, but his short career.
There is no better feeling than winning, but when the rest of the field wants to take in that celebration with the driver that actually earned the win, it shows how much they appreciate the effort, and the talent. Not to mention Larson is one of the calmest drivers in the garage, although he does make it clear when he’s upset. The only thing he was upset about this time, the fact it took so long to get that elusive victory.
At least now that first one is out of the way, and now he can look forward to the next one on the horizon.
RESULTS: 1-Larson 2-Elliott 3-Keselowski 4-Blaney 5-Harvick 6-Johnson 7-Edwards 8-McMurray 9-Hamlin 10-Logano
NOTABLE FINISHES: 12-Kurt Busch 13-Kenseth 19-Kyle Busch 20-Truex Jr. 21-Stewart 35-Buescher
CAUTIONS: 4 for 17 laps. Lap 22-25 (Competition); 27-29 (#18 spin-T4); 120-125 (Debris); 188-191 (Debris).
LEAD CHANGES: 20 among 13 drivers. J. Logano 1-22; R. Smith 23; J. Logano 24-25; K. Harvick 26-57; M. Truex Jr 58-64; K. Harvick 65; C. Elliott # 66; B. Keselowski 67-70; J. Johnson 71-107; C. Elliott # 108; B. Keselowski 109-117; C. Elliott # 118-124; K. Larson 125-155; B. Keselowski 156; M. Kenseth 157-164; A. Dillon 165; R. Newman 166; C. Edwards 167; G. Biffle 168; C. Elliott # 169-190; K. Larson 191-200.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 27 Mins, 29 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 162.730 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.478 Seconds
CHASE GRID: 1. Keselowski-774 (Points), 4 (Wins); 2. Kyle Busch-696, 4; 3. Harvick-799, 2; 4. Edwards-724, 2; 5. Hamlin-691, 2; 6. Johnson-648, 2; 7. Kenseth-633, 2; 8. Kurt Busch-721, 1; 9. Logano-716, 1; 10. Truex Jr-652, 1; 11. Larson-582, 1; 12. Stewart-420, 1; 13. Buescher-334, 1; 14. Elliott, -171 (From 1st-Harvick); 15. Dillon, -177; 16. McMurray, -183.