After charging hard due to a late speeding penalty, Kyle Larson scores his first win at Darlington amidst a duel with Nemechek.
JGR locked out the front row with Nemechek and Truex, with Larson and Mayer behind them. At the drop of the flag, Nemechek jumped to the lead until lap 4 when the first caution was thrown due to the #18 of Sammy Smith sideways in the first turn.
Nemechek and Mayer lined up for the lap 8 restart, and the JRM driver jumped to the point into turn 1. The stage remained relatively clean until lap 39 when the #27 of Burton hit the wall and brought out a yellow.
For the two lap sprint to the stage finish, Larson took the lead and won the first stage.
Stage One Results:
Larson and Nemechek lined up at the start of stage 2, with the Kaulig driver inching out ahead until the #31 of Retzlaff spun on the frontstretch and brought out the yellow.
The field restarted on lap 59 but were thrown back under caution once again for the #44 of Sage Karam sideways at the start-finish line.
Lap 67 saw another attempt at a restart that was interrupted by the big one in turn 3. Creed in the #2 tried to make it 3 wide, and spun along with RCR teammate Austin Hill, collecting over a dozen cars, including the #9, #11, #16 and the #25.
The field restarted once again on lap 76 with Larson jumping out front until another caution was thrown on lap 80 for the #43 having a flat in turn 3.
With 5 to go in the stage, Larson and the #00 of Cole Custer lined up out front. Larson got away well and the #20 of Nemechek was hunting him down. On the last lap of the stage, Nemechek sent it into turn 4 and just barely scored the second stage win.
Stage Two Results:
Under caution flag pit stops, Larson suffered a speeding penalty and was sent to the rear.
The green flew on lap 97 and Nemechek jumped out into the lead.
With 23 to go in the race, the caution was thrown again due to debris from the wounded #31. On the ensuing restart, the #20 jumped out in front once again, but the race was halted once more when the #28 spun into the inside wall on the backstretch.
The field lined up for the final restart with 7 to go, the #20 jumped to the lead with the #10 in hot pursuit. As the laps wound down, Larson gradually reeled Nemechek in closer and closer. As they took the white, Larson got a run going down the backstretch, forcing the #20 into the wall entering 3. At the midpoint of the corner, both drivers wound up in the wall. On the exit of four, Nemechek regained position to Larson’s inside, but the 2021 Cup Series Champion bounced off the wall and back into the #20, sending the JGR driver spinning uncontrollably into the inside wall. Nemechek would finish 5th.
Coming in behind Larson would be the #7 of Justin Allgaier, the #00 of Cole Custer and the #21 of Austin Hill in 4th.
Despite his final turn tango, Nemechek now holds the Xfinity points lead.
Featured Image Credits: Kaulig Racing on Twitter