Kyle Larson, threatening for weeks to cash in on his considerable promise as one of the top young racers in the country, followed through Sunday by dominating the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Camping World Truck Series race to score his victory in a major NASCAR series.
The 20-year-old Californian led almost the entire race and stopped – at least for the time being – point leader Johnny Sauter’s march through the series. Sauter won the first two races of the season and could have become the first driver to open a NASCAR major-series schedule with three straight wins.
Instead, Sauter finished fourth.
Joe Logano, with fresher tires, was gaining rapidly on Larson, the leader, in the closing miles and had moved within a second of the lead when Timothy Peters and Ryan Sieg collided on the frontstretch, bringing out the caution.
After the caution flew, Ron Hornaday Jr. bumped the rear of Darrell Wallace Jr.’s truck, sending him into the wall in turn two.
Hornaday was penalized and sent to the rear of the field for aggressive driving.
The late caution pushed the race into overtime.
Larson and Logano were side-by-side for the green-white-checkered restart. Logano made a move to reach Larson’s bumper but couldn’t pass.
Brendan Gaughan finished third, and Chase Elliott, son of former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, was fifth.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.