Kyle Larson seems to have a knack for winning the NASCAR All-Star Race in odd-numbered years. After winning in 2019 and 2021, he scored his third triumph on Sunday at North Wilkesboro Speedway in complete fashion as he started sixteenth but went on to lead 145 of 200 laps including the last for the victory.
Larson took the lead from pole-sitter and Heat #1 winner Daniel Suárez on lap 55 and held it through the halfway point, leading a Drive for Diversity alumni 1–2–3 with Bubba Wallace and Suárez in tow. Had the race stayed green instead of throwing a caution flag for the midway point, Larson probably would have developed a much bigger gap than the already astounding advantage of nearly thirteen seconds on Wallace by the break.
“Friday, we were really bad,” Larson recounted in his post-race press conference. “Yes, I ran the fast lap in practice, but if you look at the thirty-lap average, I was like second to last; we were really bad on Friday. Saturday, we were really bad in the heat race as well: I was super loose in the heat race, like loose everywhere, no grip. So I had not great expectations for tonight. I just didn’t think there was enough that they could do to make me better. I thought we’d run around fifteenth tonight.
“Being a short race, starting where we did, I was like, ‘You can’t pass here.’ But then we fired off, I dropped anchor, I got stuck in the outside lane, kind of settled into second to last or whatever, and just trying to feel my car out, and I’m like, ‘I think I’m alright here,’ like I’m not bad. I just can’t pass, but I was like, ‘My entry is more stable, I can get through the middle all right, my drive-off seems better than yesterday.’ Never did I think we would drive to the lead.
“[…] Once I was picking people off, I was like, ‘Is my car this good or is the tyre disparity the reason why I’m driving through the field?’ So I asked, ‘Is anybody else passing like I am that were on new tyres?’ And they didn’t really say that anybody was. I was like, ‘Wow, shoot, our car is really good here.’