Brilliant Larson fights through field in Fontana to win his first race of 2022

Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson continued his breath-taking run of form, racing from the back of the field to earn his 17th career NASCAR Cup Series trophy at Fontana.

Victory for Larson is his 11th with Hendrick Motorsports, partnered by Acronis, his incredible run meaning he has won six of his last 10 races dating back to last year’s victorious season.

“It’s always fun here to win in the home state,” Larson is quoted on the official Hendrick Motorsports website. “Didn’t feel great in practice yesterday. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody made some good adjustments overnight, and the car handled a lot better. There were definitely some guys that were quicker than us, but they had their misfortunes. (We) just kept our heads in it all day.”

Having qualified a respectable 13th, an electrical issue meant the Californian had to start from the rear of the field at his home circuit. But in true champion style, he carved his way through the pack to be 9th by the lap-19 restart after visiting pit road for fresh tires and fuel following a caution.

After pitting during the stage break, Larson found himself third on lap 66 and was up to second on lap 106 after stopping for more fresh tires and fuel. There was still much for Larson to do, and despite a slow stop during the next stage break dropping him to 13th, a caution on lap 151 was the break he needed, taking the lead 16 laps later.

Starting on the front row with just four laps remaining, Larson lost a place to Daniel Suarez, but a grandstand finish saw him retake Suarez and hold off Austin Dillon and Erik Jones for yet another superb victory.

It could have been even better for the Hendrick Motorsports team with Chase Elliott also battling Larson for the race victory but for an unfortunate contact between the pair that saw Elliott spinning from contention on lap 192.

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