March 24, 2024 | By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Kyle Larson wins in Xfinity Series at COTA

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas — Kyle Larson was ultimately both patient and smart taking the lead on the final overtime lap to win an aggressive Featured Health 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), the first road course test for the series this year that earned an “A” for high-drama and close competition.

New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen and Austin Hill were duking it out for the lead – and pushing each other high off the race line as the field approached the checkered flag. With those two fending each other off, Larson drove his No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet low around both and was able to pull away to a 1.215-second victory  – the only lap the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champ led all day around the 20-turn 3.51-mile road course.

Van Gisbergen finished second in the No. 97 Kaulig Racing Chevy but was accessed a 30-second penalty for exceeding track limits in that last lap battle with Hill, which ultimately put him in 27th. So Hill, driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet officially is scored runner-up.

Larson was all smiles climbing out of car, conceding he wasn’t surprised things got so aggressive in the end. He was one of the few cars – and only one among the leaders – to drop into pit lane on the final caution to get gas and had worked his way back up front.

“It feels really special because seems like every time we’ve run the 17-car – any of us four drivers – we’re always fast on track and somehow give it away,’’ Larson said. “Today I was definitely not the fastest, but we were patient. I knew the 21 [Hill] had shoved SVG [Van Gisbergen] through [turn] one and if he got to him it could get dicey.

“I was just trying to be patient. I was thinking when to make my move and when I saw him shoving him through [turns] 15 and 16, I thought this could get good and thankfully I cleared them off in that corner. Pretty crazy. Just wild there. … Really cool, just awesome to win here at COTA.’’

Neither Van Gisbergen nor Austin Hill were too happy with the final outcome – both their cars damaged from the aggressive beating and banging on the final lap. Asked if he would speak to Hill about the racing, Van Gisbergen said, “Yeah, I guess so.’’ But he was mostly positive about having a chance to win in only his fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series race of his career.

“It was a crazy race and the car got better and better,’’ Van Gisbergen said. “On that last restart he [Hill] just drove through me in [turn] one. I guess I stood up for myself. But it was pretty awesome racing with [teammate]  A.J. [Allmendinger] and in the end just turned into a mess. That’s how it is.

“It was really fun. Wish I could have gotten through to the lead, but the car [Larson] just snuck through there. He was driving really well. A lot of fun.’’

While Van Gisbergen managed a smile for the post-race television interview, he definitely had to battle all afternoon – including with his Kaulig Racing teammate A.J. Allmendinger, a two-time winner of this COTA Xfinity Series race and the series’ best active road course driver.

They battled head-to-head for the final laps of the regularly scheduled race only for Allmendinger to get swept up and out in a three-wide attempt for the lead in Turn 1 during the first green-white-checkered flag period. He was running fifth at the time of the final caution that forced a second overtime start and ultimately finished 10th.

John Hunter Nemechek finished third, reigning series champion Cole Custer was fourth and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top five. Rookie Jesse Love, Austin Green, last week’s winner Chandler Smith, Sam Mayer and Allmendinger rounded out the top 10.

It was a particularly impressive day for Green, son of former Xfinity Series champion David Green, finishing eighth in his very first series start.

Big Machine Racing driver Kligerman earned his first stage win of the year claiming the Stage 1 victory.  Brandon Jones seemingly won Stage 2 only to receive a penalty for cutting Turn 5 on the last lap of the stage. Second-place Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst was instead awarded the Stage victory – his first of the season.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to competition next Saturday with the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Chandler Smith is the defending winner – earning his career first Xfinity Series trophy there last Spring.



NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Number 5
Race Results for the Focused Health 250 - Saturday, March 23, 2024
Circuit of The Americas - Austin, TX - 3.41 - Mile Paved


Total Race Length - 50 Laps - 170.5 Miles

Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Saturday, 3/23/2024 @ 08:23 PM Eastern

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 1 17 Kyle Larson(i) HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 50  4 0 Running 1 1
2 11 21 Austin Hill Bennett Transportation Chevrolet 50 6  40 Running 1 1
3 20 20 John Hunter Nemechek(i) Dial Toyota 50   0 Running  
4 8 00 Cole Custer Haas Automation Ford 50  2 42 Running  
5 12 48 Parker Kligerman Spiked Lite Coolers Chevrolet 50 1  42 Running 1 4 1
6 14 2 Jesse Love # Whelen Chevrolet 50   31 Running  
7 25 32 Austin Green 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet 50   30 Running  
8 4 81 Chandler Smith Mobil 1 Toyota 50  10 30 Running  
9 10 1 Sam Mayer Roto-Rooter Chevrolet 50   28 Running  
10 5 16 AJ Allmendinger Celsius Chevrolet 50 8 3 38 Running 3 20
11 17 31 Parker Retzlaff Bommarito.com/Crest Chevrolet 50 4  33 Running  
12 30 5 Anthony Alfredo Dude Wipes Chevrolet 50   25 Running  
13 15 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT/Rev1 Energy Chevrolet 50   24 Running  
14 27 39 Ryan Sieg Sci Aps Ford 50  7 27 Running  
15 29 44 Brennan Poole Finance Pros Plus Chevrolet 50   22 Running  
16 18 9 Brandon Jones Menards/Spectracide Chevrolet 50   21 Running 1 1
17 6 26 Sage Karam CRC Brakleen Toyota 50 3  28 Running  
18 31 45 Brad Perez WEISS Sand & Clay/Sendero Chevrolet 50   19 Running  
19 24 51 Jeremy Clements Impel Union Chevrolet 50   18 Running  
20 34 42 Leland Honeyman # Austin Gamblers Chevrolet 50   17 Running  
21 22 07 Daniil Kvyat GOTRAX Chevrolet 50   16 Running  
22 36 29 Blaine Perkins AutoParkit.com Ford 50   15 Running  
23 35 15 Hailie Deegan # Cody Jinks Change The Game Ford 50   14 Running  
24 3 19 Ty Gibbs(i) He Gets Us Toyota 50  9 0 Running 1 1
25 33 4 Patrick Gallagher TeamJDMotorsports.com Chevrolet 50   12 Running  
26 26 35 Alex Labbe  Toyota 50 7 6 20 Running  
27 2 97 Shane Van Gisbergen # WeatherTech Chevrolet 50 10 5 17 Running 4 20
28 37 14 RC Enerson Lucas Oil School of Racing Chevrolet 50   9 Running  
29 32 91 Kyle Weatherman myradar/DriveSmartWarranty.com Chevrolet 50   8 Running  
30 21 27 Jeb Burton Golden Corral Chevrolet 49   7 Running  
31 23 92 Josh Bilicki Halford Mobile Services Chevrolet 48 9 8 11 Suspension  
32 7 18 Sheldon Creed Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota 47   5 Running  
33 38 43 Ryan Ellis Classic Collision Chevrolet 45   4 Accident  
34 19 98 Riley Herbst Monster Energy Ford 45 5 1 19 Accident 1 2 1
35 16 24 Ed Jones CRC Industries Toyota 42   2 Accident  
36 13 8 Sammy Smith Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 36 2  10 Accident  
37 28 6 Ty Dillon(i) Ollie's Good Stuff Cheap Chevrolet 33   0 Suspension  
38 9 11 Josh Williams Alloy Employer Services Chevrolet 24   1 Overheating  

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 21 Mins, 21 Secs. Average Speed: 72.374 MPH Margin of Victory: 1.354 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 48, 8, 26, 31, 98, 21, 35, 16, 92, 97
Stage 2 Top 10: 98, 00, 16, 17, 97, 35, 39, 92, 19, 81

Failed to Qualify: (2) 28 Kaz Grala(i), 50 Preston Pardus.

Caution Flags: 4 for 9 laps; Laps: 16-17 (Stage 1 Conclusion [18]); 32-34 (Stage 2 Conclusion [18]); 44-45 (Fluid on track [27]); 47-48 (#43, 42, 07, 29, 98 Incident Turn 11 [27]).

Lead Changes: 13 among 8 drivers; K. Larson(i) 0; S. Van Gisbergen # 1-9; A. Allmendinger 10-11; P. Kligerman 12-15; A. Allmendinger 16-27; S. Van Gisbergen # 28; B. Jones 29; R. Herbst 30-31; A. Allmendinger 32-37; S. Van Gisbergen # 38-44; T. Gibbs(i) 45; S. Van Gisbergen # 46-48; A. Hill 49; K. Larson(i) 50.

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Next Race: March 30, 2024 - Richmond Raceway

NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875

Videos

Track Talk Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

Track Talk Live

Mostly Motorsports Live

Kansas Speedway Pre-Race Show

More Videos

Our Partners