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NASCAR at Dover results: Kyle Larson snaps 75-race winless streak

Sporting News — (Sporting News)

Kyle Larson picked a great time for his first win in more than two years. The 27-year-old driver secured a spot in the final eight of the NASCAR playoffs by leading for nearly the entire second half of Sunday's Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway, finishing more than a second ahead of Martin Truex Jr. in the first race of the Round of 12.

Denny Hamlin had the pole and dominated the first half of the race, leading for 219 laps, but was passed just before the end of the second stage.

Truex won that second stage ahead of Larson, but a slip from a crew member on Truex's pit stop put Larson in the lead on the restart following the post-stage caution. Larson took advantage, only surrendering his lead because of pit-stop timing the rest of the way.

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Larson was hardly a surprise winner; he qualified second this weekend and finished fifth at Dover in the regular season. The Round of 12 races were expected to play to his strengths, with him finishing in the top five at all three tracks this year. The first playoff win of his career allows him to relax at Talladega and Kansas before the field is cut to eight drivers.

One of the other race favorites barely got his day started, however. Chase Elliott qualified fifth but ran just eight laps before an engine problem ended his day.

Joey Logano's issues began even earlier. He went to the garage with an axle problem before the green flag flew, dooming him to a 35th-place finish.

Those slip-ups helped open the door for Alex Bowman, whose third-place finish gives him a significant boost in the standings after being the final driver to make the cut for the top 12. Kevin Harvick finished behind him in fourth.

The struggles for many playoff drivers puts more pressure on them ahead of next week's race at Talladega and adds to the excitement at one of the most unpredictable tracks in the sport.

Sporting News tracked live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from the Drydene 400.

MORE: Updated NASCAR playoff standings

Drydene 400: 2019 winner, top-20 order of finish

FinishDriverTeam (Car No.)Laps Led
1Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi Raching (42)155
2Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs Racing (19)15
3Alex BowmanHendrick Motorsports (88)0
4Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas Racing (4)0
5Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing (11)218
6Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs Racing (18)0
7Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family Racing (95)0
8Jimmie JohnsonHendrick Motorsports (48)1
9Kurt BuschChip Ganassi Racing (1)3
10Clint BowyerStewart-Haas Racing (14)0
11Brad KeselowskiPenske Racing (2)0
12Paul MenardWood Brothers Racing (21)6
13William ByronHendrick Motorsports (24)1
14Daniel SuarezStewart-Haas Racing (41)1
15Erik JonesJoe Gibbs Racing (20)0
16Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway Mustang Racing (17)0
17Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas Racing (10)0
18Austin DillonRichard Childress Racing (3)0
19Ryan PreeceJTG Daughtery Racing (47)0
20Bubba WallaceRichard Petty Motorsports (43)0

Drydene 400 live updates, highlights

Caution flags: 3

Lead changes: 14

Lap leaders: Denny Hamlin (218), Kyle Larson (154), Martin Truex Jr. (15), Paul Menard (6), Kurt Busch (3), Jimmie Johnson (1), William Byron (1), Daniel Suarez (1), Ty Dillon (1)

5:44 p.m.: CHECKERED. Larson wins by a bit more than a second, his first win after a 75-race drought. Alex Bowman is third, ahead of Harvick, and Hamlin rounds out the top five. Kyle Busch finishes sixth.

5:38 p.m.: Larson has a 4.5-second lead over Truex with 22 laps to go.

5:14 p.m.: Bowyer said his car is feeling the effects from contact with Keselowski. Drivers pit with about 80 laps to go. Larson is the leader.

5:06 p.m.: Ryan Blaney heads to the garage because of brake issues.

4:55 p.m.: Hamlin, in second, reports his engine is failing, despite being the fastest car on the track.

4:40 p.m.: CAUTION. Truex has some issues on pit road and loses the lead.

4:36 p.m.: Truex pulls away and takes the win in Stage 2. Behind him are Larson, Hamlin, Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

4:32 p.m.: Suddenly, with 12 laps to go in the second stage, we have movement at the top. Truex, Larson and Harvick all pass Hamlin. Truex and Larson are battling for the lead.

4:21 p.m.: Truex regains second from Harvick. Hamlin has nearly lapped Kyle Busch, with about 35 laps to go in Stage 2.

4:15 p.m.: Byron, running in fifth, is the third playoff driver to serve a penalty for speeding on pit road.

4:13 p.m.: Truex pits a lap before the rest of the field.

4:05 p.m.: Harvick has cut into Hamlin's lead more successfully than anybody else to this point, pulling to .2 seconds back.

3:55 p.m.: Harvick moves up to second on the restart, bumping Truex to third.

3:50 p.m.: CAUTION. Many of the drivers pit, a tire gets away on pit road and Kyle Busch is caught speeding. The playoff drivers who didn't get a Stage 1 point are Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano.

3:41 p.m.: Hamlin wins Stage 1. Truex, Larson, William Byron and Kevin Harvick follow him. Standings leader Kyle Busch is in eighth.

3:34 p.m.: Not a ton of change at the 100-lap mark. Hamlin, Truex and Larson are the leaders, in that order.

3:24 p.m.: All but five of the lead drivers pit on lap 77.

3:14 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. passes Larson for second, but Hamlin is still the leader as we near the halfway point of Stage 1.

3:08 p.m.: Elliott is in the garage.

3:04 p.m.: Hamlin and Kyle Larson are already running into lap traffic.

2:53 p.m.: CAUTION. Just nine laps in, two playoff drivers have run into problems. Chase Elliott pulls into pit row with engine problems, and the caution flag flies.

2:48 p.m.: Drama before the green flag, as Joey Logano is headed to the garage with a rear axle problem.