MILLION DOLLAR DOUBLE DIPPER: Larson nips Harvick in Charlotte All-Star win

MILLION DOLLAR DOUBLE DIPPER: Larson nips Harvick in Charlotte All-Star win
The checkered flag waves (upper left corner) as Kyle Larson finishes the Monster Energy All-Star race just ahead of Kevin Harvick. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

By David Rogers. May 18, 2019. CONCORD, NC — Some might call it Grand Larsony.

Elk Grove, California native Kyle Larson had to transfer into Saturday night’s main NASCAR event, the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He had to either win the first or second stage of the Monster Energy Open, or cross the finish line first. Not only did he win the curtain raiser, but he double down and won the All-Star Race — and took home a million dollars in the process (less, of course, divvying some of it up with his crew).

Another California native, Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield) led the most laps (33), but he came in second after giving Larson a huge shove from behind after the last restart. Larson lurched into the lead with Harvick close behind, an advantage the tandem didn’t give up for the remainder of the race. Harvick could never quite catch up, finishing approximately 4/10s of a second behind.

Kyle Busch finished third, followed by Joey Logano (4th) and Bubba Wallace (5th).

Chase Elliott (#9) gets full service on pit road during the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman didn’t figure in the finish (12th and 13th, respectively), but they were central figures in the Saturday Night Special undercard, with Newman spinning Bowyer into the wall after the race and Bowyer rushing over to Newman’s car to throw punches through the window a short-time later. Of course they both blamed the other for the dust-up because of contact earlier in the race, to which Newman took exception.

The other race-in winners had a good showing in the All-Star race, too. Bubba Wallace finished fifth, while William Byron came in ninth. The other transfer drive, Alex Bowman (fan favorite), was just ahead of Byron in eighth.

Joey Logano (22) gave up track position to get four tires and fuel.

The all-star race had 10 lead changes among seven drivers. Pole sitter Bowyer gave up the lead to Harvick on lap 1, and the veteran hot rodder led 1-19, then later led 40-53.  Bowyer did lead one lap, #54, but never really threatened. Kyle Busch led 20-27 and 33-39, Brad Keselowski held the lead from 28-31, and Joey Logano 55-73. Late in the race, it looked like Hendrick Motorsports would take home the top prize after leading going into the last restart (leading #74-75), but Larson surprised a few drivers by surging to the lead with Harvick’s big push and never gave it up.

There were eight cautions for 17 laps.

All of Saturday is a prelim to next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race of the season, also at Charlotte Motor Speedway, on Sunday, May 26th.


About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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