While operating the No. 7 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, Larson led 138 of the eventual 252 laps. However, with 13 laps remaining, after making a late-race pit stop for fresh tyres, Larson had to pass Bubba Wallace in order to retake the lead.
The race entered a two-lap overtime period as a result of a late collision that involved Christian Eckes and Chase Purdy. Larson easily held off Ty Majeski by 0.974 seconds to claim his first Truck victory of the 2023 campaign.
The first points-paying race in any NASCAR series since 1996, when Jeff Gordon won the final Cup Series race conducted at the circuit, allowed Larson to triumph in front of a capacity crowd.
Following a multi-million dollar rehabilitation by Speedway Motorsports, the track is back in action today and will host a week of racing, including Sunday’s All-Star Race, Late Models, and Trucks.
“That truck was very, really fantastic. Thank you to everyone here,” Larson said. Driving and being a customer, running different lanes and choosing them off one at a time, was quite enjoyable.
“What a remarkable audience, and it was truly cool. For some reason, I witnessed people avoiding me while the light was yellow, and I also witnessed support for me. I enjoyed competing here. What a wonderful setting. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend with anticipation.
Wallace finished fifth, Carson Hocevar fourth, and Matt DiBenedetto third.
Corey Heim, Matt Crafton, Purdy, Ross Chastain, and Grant Enfinger completed the top 10.
Sports Phase 1
With around 70 laps remaining, Heim overtook William Byron and held on to win Stage 1 by a margin of 0.400 seconds. Colby Howard finished fourth, Christopher Bell third, and Hocevar rounded out the top 5.
38 is Zane Smith. Ford had to start at the back of the pitch after stopping the review process three times. He was sixth as the first phase came to a close.
Sports Phase 2
In a one-lap sprint, Larson beat Hocevar by 0.127 seconds to claim the Stage 2 victory. Smith came in third, Heim fourth, and Byron rounded out the top 5.
Late in the phase, Dean Thompson spun, which forced all of the lead-lap trucks to pit road for new tyres and fuel and started the final restart.
Sports Phase 3
A few lead-lap trucks pitted at the interval between Stages 2 and 3 but Larson continued on the track and maintained the lead.
On Lap 157, Josh Williams spun and nearly collided with the sand barrels as Tanner Grey forced the field to run four wide. This brought out the seventh caution of the contest. Williams whacked Gray’s No. 15 while he was being looked after to express his displeasure with the move.
With 75 laps remaining, Larson maintained a 1-second advantage over Hocevar, with Heim finishing third and Smith finishing fourth.
On Lap 186, assistance for a multi-truck accident involving Hailie Deegan, Thompson, and Kris Wright took all of the lead-lap trucks down pit road for fresh tyres and fuel to finish the race.
Smith had to restart from the back of the pitch after receiving a penalty for speeding. When the restart began with 59 laps remaining, Larson had originally strayed off pit lane. He then set the pace. Hocevar placed third, followed by Heim.
Eckes bumped Tyler Ankrum up the track coming out of Turn 2, causing a chain reaction crash on Lap 201 that also involved Smith, Rajah Caruth, and Ben Rhodes.
With 35 to go, Chastain made the decision to pit for brand-new tyres, while Larson stayed on the track and was leading the restart.
Wallace stayed on the track and took the lead after the rest of the lead-lap trucks were forced to pit road by an accident a few laps later. Wallace was followed by Chastain, Deegan, and Majeski after making a pit stop for two tyres on lap 228 of the restart.
With 15 circuits left, Larson had really reclaimed second place and was aiming for leader Wallace. With 13 laps remaining, Wallace was finally passed by Larson, who reclaimed the lead.