Lar­son out­lasts El­liott

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTS -

Three times, Kyle Lar­son needed to out­race the rest of the con­tenders on late restarts.

That’s a task he has proven he can han­dle at Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speed­way.

Lar­son took con­trol on a restart with five laps re­main­ing in Brook­lyn, Mich., and held off Chase El­liott on Sun­day for his sec­ond NASCAR Cup Se­ries victory of the sea­son. The fin­ish was sim­i­lar to the race at Michi­gan in Au­gust, when Lar­son took the lead on a restart with nine laps left en route to his first Cup win.

Lar­son, 24, won this year at Fon­tana (San Bernardino County) and has five sec­ond-place fin­ishes. He also was sec­ond in the All-Star race, which doesn’t count in the stand­ings.

“We’ve been so close to so many other wins,” Lar­son said. “This is our sec­ond Cup win of the year, but we’ve had six sec­ond-place fin­ishes. All in all, it’s a good sea­son so far and we’ll con­tinue to keep build­ing on what we’ve got.”

It was the third Cup win of Lar­son’s ca­reer and 14th by Chip Ganassi Rac­ing. El­liott was sec­ond in both Michi­gan races last year, and again this time. He’s win­less in 56 ca­reer Cup races, but he’s fifth in points in 2017.

“We had a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get the lead, and un­for­tu­nately, it just didn’t work out, but we’ll move on. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Kyle,” said El­liott, 21. “He had a fast car to­day and we’ll try to go get ’em next week.”

Joey Logano fin­ished third. Martin Truex Jr. won the first two stages of the race but fin­ished sixth, ced­ing the points lead to Lar­son. Truex has 10 stage vic­to­ries this year. No one else has more than four.

Denny Ham­lin, who won Satur­day’s Xfin­ity event, fin­ished fourth Sun­day, fol­lowed by Jamie McMur­ray.

24 Hours Le Mans:

Ger­man driver Timo Bern­hard led Porsche to a dra­matic third straight win at the 24 Hours Le Mans race in France to pre­vent a huge up­set win for the lesser cat­e­gory Oreca team.

Af­ter a se­ries of mishaps to pre-race fa­vorites Porsche and Toy­ota, the LMP2 cat­e­gory Oreca sud­denly found it­self in the lead with 19-year-old French­man Thomas Lau­rent be­hind the wheel three hours from the end of the gru­el­ing en­durance race.

Bern­hard, 36, rac­ing in the faster and more pow­er­ful LMP1 cat­e­gory Porsche 919 Hy­brid, over­took the Oreca with about 1 hour re­main­ing.

As the Porsche No. 2 crossed the fin­ish line, there were scenes of re­lief in the Porsche garage as team mem­bers danced around hold­ing up Tshirts with “Hat trick 2015, 2016, 2017” writ­ten on them.

“Well done, ev­ery­body,” an ex­hausted Bern­hard said over team ra­dio. “You’re the best.”

Team­mate Bren­don Hart­ley did much of the hard work to drag Porsche back into the race.

Bern­hard fin­ished about one minute ahead of the Jackie Chan DC Rac­ing team car, owned by the famed ac­tion-movie ac­tor. Another Oreca LMP2 car — driven by Nel­son Pi­quet Jr., the son of the famed Brazil­ian F1 driver, fin­ished in third place for the Vail­lante Re­bel­lion team.

NHRA:

Clay Mil­li­can raced to his first ca­reer Top Fuel victory, beat­ing Leah Pritch­ett in the NHRA Thun­der Val­ley Na­tion­als fi­nal in Bris­tol, Tenn. Ron Capps won in Funny Car, and Alex Laughin in Pro Stock.

Sarah Crabill / Getty Im­ages

Kyle Lar­son likes the view from his perch, stand­ing on his car in Victory Lane af­ter win­ning the NASCAR Cup race at Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speed­way.

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