NASCAR: Kyle Larson outruns Brad Keselowski for Nationwide win at Charlotte

jutter@charlotteobserver.comMay 24, 2014 

— This is shaping up to be a very successful month of May for team owner Chip Ganassi.

Ganassi’s newest NASCAR driver, Kyle Larson, picked up his second Nationwide Series victory of the season, handily beating Brad Keselowski to win Saturday’s History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The win by Larson, a rookie in the Sprint Cup series for Ganassi, comes on the heels of Ganassi’s first Sprint All-Star Race victory last weekend with driver Jamie McMurray.

More good news: Ganassi’s IndyCar series drivers, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, were first- and second-fastest, respectively, in the final practice Friday prior to Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

“I think I just had a really great car. We were fast in practice on Thursday and barely worked on it, really,” said Larson, who earned his first series win earlier this season at Fontana, Calif.

“At California, we really had to work to earn that one, and today we really had the dominate car. Hopefully, we have many more wins to come.”

So does Ganassi, who certainly would relish becoming the first owner to win the 500 and 600 on the same day.

“I know Chip is really excited for the (IndyCar) race, and I’m excited to watch it. I also think Jamie and I both have a good shot for a strong run here,” Larson said. “It would be pretty cool if we could close out the month of May with a couple wins and good finishes for Chip.”

Larson dominated the second half of Saturday’s race, leading a race-high 82 of 200 laps and was for the most part not seriously challenged for the lead.

He did, however, use a daring three-wide move on Lap 118 to take the lead for the first time that drew gasps from onlookers, both at the track and in the TV booth.

“I knew the high line was fast and I saw a lot of lapped traffic ahead of us. It was clear line above – although it may not have like much room on TV,” Larson said.

Kyle Busch finished third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Brian Scott was fifth.

“He had a fast car that was very versatile and could run the top and the bottom (racing grooves),” Keselowski said of Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet. “That’s what you dream for as a driver.”

Regan Smith, who finished seventh, took over the series points lead and holds a five-point advantage over Elliott Sadler heading to next weekend’s race at Dover, Del.

Chase Elliott, who entered the race as the series leader, was forced to the garage early with a broken right-front suspension. He eventually made it back out on the track but finished 37th.

“Whatever we learned today, we will throw in the trash,” Elliott said. “Today was a disaster.”

Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.

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