Monday July 22nd, 2024 10:35AM

Other drivers have nothing for streaking Larson in All-Star

By Steve Reed-AP Sports Writer

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) — Bubba Wallace finished second in Sunday night's NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race - a 200-lap non-points exhibition event - at the restored North Wilkesboro Speedway.  Tyler Reddick followed in third, with Chase Briscoe in fourth and Chase Elliott in fifth.

But only race winner Kyle Larson - who dominated the event, leading a whopping 145 of 200 laps in NASCAR's return to the abrasive North Carolina short track - collected prize money in the winner-take-all event.  Larson pocketed a $1 million dollar payday.

Wallace joked he won the “best of the rest.”

“Larson was lights out, so congrats to him,” Wallace said. “They have been hitting it on the head all season, so to run second to them is not a bad thing. But to run second in the All-Star race sucks because you go home with nothing.”

If fans came to see wrecks, they walked away disappointed.

There were none.

And the only pass they saw for the lead was Larson moving past pole sitter Daniel Suarez in what amounted to yet another short track snoozer in a season where NASCAR has struggled with non-competitive races.

“It's no secret that everybody in the industry, the fans have been vocal about wanting better short track racing, so I think what happened tonight goes along with what that narrative has been lately,” Reddick said. “NASCAR is working on it and we are all going to put our heads together and try to make short track racing better.”

North Wilkesboro Speedway's patched-up asphalt track held up fairly well following a week of racing despite not having been paved in more than three decades.

The track, which sat mostly dormant and became overgrown with weeds, was restored with help of Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith and Hall of Fame driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for NASCAR’s 75th year anniversary season.

Suarez and Chris Buescher started on the front row for the All-Star race after winning their 60-lap heats Saturday night, when NASCAR experimented for the first time with wet weather tires on Cup Series cars.

Suarez dominated early, leading the first 55 laps of the race, while Buescher quickly fell off the pace early, dropping to 10th place after just five laps when he stuck on the outside.

HARVICK'S CAR

Kevin Harvick, who is set to retire after the season, drove the throwback No. 29 car with the white paint scheme one last time.

It's the same car the two-time All-Star winner began his career in after taking over Dale Earnhardt's spot with Richard Childress following Earnhardt's death at the Daytona 500 in 2001.

Harvick normally races the No. 4 for Stewart-Haas Racing, but SHR worked out a deal with RCR to allow him to run the No. 29 car.

OPEN WINNER

Earlier in the day, Josh Berry won the All-Star Open to advance to the All-Star race along with second-place finisher Ty Gibbs and fan vote winner Noah Gragson. Berry took the lead with 23 laps remaining when he passed Gibbs on the apron on the inside of the track.

“It’s pretty cool, pretty special to be here,” Gibbs said. "I wasn’t alive when they raced here, but it’s really cool. It’s a worn out race track, but it’s fun. Just kind of looking for patches, looking for grip.”

There were two crashes in the Open race, including one involving Michael McDowell and Justin Haley, who were both running in the top five at the time before Gibbs bumped McDowell.

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