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NASCAR StatWatch — Dover win came at a perfect time for Kyle Larson

With a driver as young and talented as Kyle Larson, it was just a matter of time before he won again.

But let’s not forget what comes with that victory on Sunday at Dover: a spot in the Round of Eight and an ultra-valuable five extra playoff points to help him compete for a spot in the Championship Four.

If Larson can get to the Championship Four, it’s a winner-take-all (or best finish takes all) battle among those four drivers at a track where Larson has shown his prowess. In 2016, he finished second, leading nearly half the laps. In 2017, he led more than half the laps and finished third.

However, that Dover win might’ve been best for Larson’s psyche. Next week we’re at Talladega, where not much separates a top-five finish from a sub-30th finish. Dover is far less volatile than Talladega, and look what happened to Joey Logano (entered fourth in points, left tied for eighth) and Chase Elliott (sixth to 11th).

For now, however, let’s take a look at some of the numbers surrounding Larson’s victory.

Second to none

Larson’s previous victory came in September 2017 at Richmond. Between that victory and Sunday, he finished second on nine occasions, including six times last season.

That set a Cup Series record for the most runner-up finishes between victories. The previous record of eight was done five times:

• Kevin Harvick (2015)
• Jeff Gordon (2009-11)
• Jeremy Mayfield (2000-04)
• Bobby Allison (1970)
• Bobby Isaac (1968)

That 75-race winless streak between victories might seem like quite a wait, but it’s nothing compared to that of Alex Bowman, who picked up his first career win in his 133rd start earlier this season. Aric Almirola went 149 races between victories, snapping the drought last year in the playoff race at Talladega.

Late to the party

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