Certain things just go hand-in-hand with each other.
In Texas, it is barbecue.
In Tennessee, it is country music.
And at seemingly any racetrack, it is Kyle Larson dominating.
Such was the case Sunday evening at Nashville Superspeedway, when the 28-year-old led 264 of 300 laps to claim another dominating victory to his resume.
The win is Larson’s fourth of the season and his third in a row dating back to May 30 (Charlotte Motor Speedway). Over his last six races dating back to May 9 (Darlington Raceway), Larson has finished first or second.
The dominance did not solely take place at the end of the race. Through the first 15 laps, a multitude of drivers, including Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney continuously got loose but held strong as they attempted to find a groove down the middle.
No driver, however, capitalized more through the middle groove than Larson. Upon a lap six restart, the No. 5 machine found a seam up the middle through three-wide action with Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch to take the lead less than one lap into the restart.
Larson’s Hendrick teammate in Chase Elliott, meanwhile, continued to push away on the top five fringes and was able to push all the way up to second behind Larson midway through stage one. A Chris Buescher and Justin Haley caution with 13 to go in stage one, however, was just what the No. 9 Chevy needed to vault ahead to P1 and tally his second stage win of the season.
While Larson was able to retake the lead upon the start of stage two, another potential usurper in Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his presence known.
After Stenhouse finished seventh in stage one, the No. 47 for JTG Daugherty Racing rocketed through Busch to take second less than 15 laps into stage two. Although Stenhouse Jr. and a risk-taking Chase Briscoe made a push from the runner-up position, Larson was able to lead when needed to pick up the stage two win.
Although a slew of additional drivers, including Byron and Elliott, attempted to make the bottom groove work to outpace Larson’s speed up top, the No. 5 remained steady upon the beginning of the final stage and was able to cushion his lead well north of two seconds with less than 60 to go. Although debris and a surging Ross Chastain made it interesting, Larson maintained his five+ second lead to pick up the win.
Chastain finished second. The finish snaps Hendrick Motorsports’ five-race run of finishing first and second in a race. It also Chastain’s first top-five finish in the Cup Series.
After starting on the pole, Almirola finished fourth. It is Almirola’s first top-five finish of the season and his first since Sept. 19, 2020 (Bristol Motor Speedway).
Daniel Suarez finished seventh. Dating back to May 16 (Dover International Speedway), Suarez has finished inside the top 15 in four of five races.
The Cup Series will head north to Long Pond, Pennsylvania for a doubleheader slate at Pocono Raceway next weekend. Coverage for Race 1 will take place on June 26, while Race 2 will start up on June 27. Coverage for both will begin on NBCSN at 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET, respectively.