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NASCAR Sonoma: Larson continues domination with latest win

Larson held off his Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Chase Elliott in a two-lap overtime fight to secure the win in at Sonoma Raceway, but his victory never seemed seriously challenged.

Larson started on the pole, won both stages and led 57 of the 92 laps and was only under threat when a late-race three-car wreck set up an overtime period. But after Elliott got close in the first three turns, Larson was able to pull away and stay comfortably out front.

The win is Larson’s third of the 2021 season and second consecutive triumph, having also won all three stages and the race last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Our car was awesome all day, made my job a lot easier than it has some days in the past,” Larson said.

“The tyres, when they’d get hot and cycle cool under yellow, I lost some front grip. I kind of missed my apexes in a few corners so Chase stayed on me longer than I wanted him to but I was able to get away for the last lap.

“It’s just a lot of hard work [from Hendrick Motorsports]. It’s been putting in for a long time now. A few years ago, for their standards, they were struggling. They dug down deep and we continue to work hard, too.

“I hope this is just the beginning of a lot more wins now.”

Larson’s crew chief, Cliff Daniels, said the #5 team waivered from their strategy despite the rash of cautions in the final stage.

“We stuck to our strategy at the beginning of the race. The only thing we did different was not short [pitting] Stage 2,” he said. “We had a fast enough car we felt we could pass back up through there if we got Stage 2 points.

“It paid off, which was great, definitely glad it did.”

Larson’s win is the fourth consecutive in the Cup by a Hendrick Motorsports driver and the fourth consecutive race Hendrick drivers have finished first and second in a race.

Martin Truex Jr – who had won the last two races at Sonoma prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing, with Joey Logano in fourth for Team Penske as Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) rounded out the top-five.

Kurt Busch took sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of team-mate Ross Chastain, as Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports) and Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) completed the top 10.

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