DOVER, Del. — Kyle Larson fended off a final-lap challenge from Ryan Blaney to win Stage 1 of Saturday’s OneMain Financial 200 at Dover Int’l Speedway, but had to survive a drag race back to the finish line to do so.
Larson led all 60 laps of the opening stint, despite a pass attempt by Blaney on the bottom of Turns 3 and 4 coming to the green-checkered flag.
The Elk Grove, Calif. native and two-time XFINITY winner this season held off Blaney by .041 of a second in a photo-finish at the line.
Four cautions for incident slowed the opening stage, beginning early on, when Ryan Sieg spun in Turn 3 to draw the yellow flag on lap six after contact with Brendan Gaughan.
Trouble returned on the 28th round, when Brandon Jones got a big piece of the wall after help from Ryan Reed, and persisted on the ensuing two restarts, after Austin Dillon found the fence on lap 34 and Timmy Hill broke something in the right-front that sent him blasting into the outside wall in turn four eight laps later.
That set up a 14-lap sprint to the stage break, which was scrambled when both fourth-running Daniel Suarez and his teammate Matt Tifft slowed with tire problems, shaking up the running order coming to the green-checkered flag.
Behind Larson and Blaney, it was defending race winner Erik Jones who ended up third, followed by Dash 4 Cash qualifiers William Byron and Brennan Poole.
As the highest-finishing XFINITY regulars in Stage 1, Byron and Poole will have a shot to race for the final $100,000 bonus of the season during the closing stage of Saturday’s 200-lap race.
Points leaders Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier were sixth and seventh, respectively, with Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Hemric and Ryan Reed completing the top 10.
After their tire problems, Suarez and Tifft both finished two laps down at the stage break, in 32nd and 33rd, respectively.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
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