Larson gets first Nationwide win, holds off Harvick

GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer Published:

Associated Press

FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Larson won his first Nationwide Series race Saturday, holding off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in a thrilling finish at Fontana.

The 21-year-old Larson became the first California native to win a Nationwide race at the 2-mile oval, surviving a three-man derby in the final laps that had the fans on their feet.

After Harvick's final attempt to pass him failed, Larson celebrated with a burnout in Victory Lane, but only after detaching his steering wheel and holding it out the window.

"Those last 11, 12 laps were the longest laps of my life," Larson said. "I've been so close to winning so many times, but the fashion we did it in was extra special."

One of NASCAR's most promising young drivers, Larson is from Elk Grove, Calif., near Sacramento. After being named Nationwide's top rookie last season, he's driving the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Sprint Cup series.

Harvick finished just 0.342 seconds behind after barely missing on repeated attempts to slip underneath Larson's Chevy for the lead.

Kenseth claims pole for Sprint Cup race

FONTANA, Calif. -- Matt Kenseth has won the pole for the NASCAR race at Fontana, edging Brad Keselowski in a knockout qualifying session Friday dominated by now-familiar faces.

Kenseth won his first pole of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing by turning a lap at 187.315 mph, beating Keselowski's 187.105.

Five-time Fontana champion Jimmie Johnson was third at 38.516, followed by Kevin Harvick. Clint Bowyer came in fifth.

The drivers emerged from the fourth edition of NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format with more praise for the fan-friendly style. Keselowski improved his time in each round, adding to Team Penske's list of impressive qualifying finishes this season.

Kenseth has won three times at Fontana, most recently in 2009.

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