Larson Takes Third NASCAR All-Star Triumph in a Return to North Wilkesboro
By Dave Hascall
(North Wilkesboro, NC) Sunday night’s NASCAR All-star race at the historic North Wilkesboro Motor Speedway saw the return of Cup racing after an almost thirty year absence. In fact, the 5/8th mile short track only saw competition once since 1996 before a resurgence came to be last year. The plan was to race a few weekly short track series events in October 2022 before briefly turning the track into a dirt track. But then track promoter Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR looked at the track to host the 2023 All-star race. Short track racing seems to be the biggest draw of late in Cup racing so the dirt transformation was scuttled.
Two time All-star winner Kyle Larson struggled in prelims on Friday and Saturday and didn’t do much in the first dozen or so laps of the 200 lap feature. Then a caution came out. Larson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels brought Larson down pit road for fresh tires. Then Larson was penalized for an infraction. So Larson started 24th on lap 18 and he quickly marched through the field. He took the lead from Daniel Suarez on lap 54 and was never headed. He didn’t just dominate the race, he called it an ass whipping. He lapped almost into the top ten in process of winning 1 million dollars . Toyota drivers Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick claimed second and third over Ford driver Chase Briscoe and Larson’s Chevy teammate Chase Elliott.
The fans seemed to love the return to the short track that hasn’t been repaved in decades but Larson’s domination might make NASCAR rethink the current format.
Larson also won Saturday’s truck event.