Kyle Larson woke up Saturday morning not knowing if he would make the field for Saturday night's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. He ended the day by winning the four-stage, 88-lap All-Star race.
Larson, who had to win a stage in the Monster Energy Open qualifying race earlier in the evening to earn a berth in the All-Star event, took the lead with 12 laps to go, held off series superstars Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, and got his first victory of any kind in 2019 in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
Asked what he was going to do with the $1 million that goes to the race winner, Larson said, "I don't know. I really didn't have any plans."
Larson moved to the lead thanks to a push from behind by Harvick with 12 laps to go.
"This is amazing," Larson said. "I've been close a couple of times. I feel like every time I've been in the All-Star race, I've been close to winning. It's neat to finally close it out."
Harvick, winless in 2019's points-paying races after winning eight times a year ago, finished second after leading a race-best 33 laps.
"A letdown," Harvick, a two-time All-Star winner, said of the finish. "That's how you take the fastest car and don't win the race with it. It wasn't even close to anybody having a good car like we had tonight."
Busch, a three time winner this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third.
Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano of Team Penske and Bubba Wallace, who, like Larson, needed to win a stage in the Open to get into the main event.
After the race, Ryan Newman and pole-sitter Clint Bowyer went face-to-face as the result of an in-race incident and some metal bending on the cool-down lap after the checkered flag. Bowyer, who started on the pole, ran to Newman's car with his helmet still on and began throwing punches through the window before being pulled away by members of both crews and race officials.
"After the race, he comes and runs into my back and turns me all around," Bowyer told FOX. "Where I come from, you get poked in the nose for that."
Said Newman: "It doesn't take much of a man to try to fight somebody with a helmet on. I think he should be embarrassed of himself."
Busch took the lead in overtime in the scheduled 30-lap first stage, held off Harvick and won the stage. Harvick, of Stewart-Haas Racing, won the 20-lap second stage by almost 2 seconds over Logano after taking the lead from Busch on a restart with 14 laps to go. Logano dominated in winning the third stage, also a 20-lapper.
The four-stage race began with 19 cars on the 1.5-mile track. In those cars were drivers who had either won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2018-19, had won a past All-Star race or had won a Cup championship in the past.
Three other drivers -- Larson, Wallace and William Byron -- were added to the field after winning one of the three stages in the Open qualifying race earlier in the evening. One final driver -- Alex Bowman -- earned a berth as the result of a fan vote.
--Field Level Media