CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson was among NASCAR's rising young stars in 2017 with four victories and his second straight playoff appearance. Then came a 20-month winless drought that left him and his Chip Ganassi Racing team searching for answers.

Larson believes he found several during a breakthrough weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He became just the second driver to win the Monster Energy Open to get into the All-Star race before outlasting Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to win the main event and $1 million first prize Saturday night.

The 26-year-old Larson understands he has much more to prove before declaring a turnaround, starting this week with the Coca-Cola 600, also at CMS. Still, it was a satisfying moment in more than a season of struggles.

"In losing close races, I feel like I've done a good job of not getting stressed out," Larson said. "With those losses that I've had, you grow from each and every one of them."

Larson has certainly had difficult moments since taking the checkered flag at Richmond in September 2017. Perhaps the most memorable came at Talladega Superspeedway last month when his No. 42 lifted off the track, struck the interior wall head on and went on a slow series of barrel rolls before stopping.

Larson was not hurt in the frightening incident that might have unhinged some drivers with less resolve.

"That wasn't the first flip I've ever had," he said. "I don't get scared from it. It doesn't rough me up. It doesn't bother me. Thankfully, I was uninjured, other than a stiff neck for a couple of days, so that also helps."

Larson said it's the problems on the track, like accidents that left him 39th in Texas and 37th at Richmond this season, that stick with him. "That stuff's harder to overcome more than flipping down the back stretch," he said.

Things began looking up at Dover this month with a third-place finish. He followed with another top-10 at Kansas to head to Charlotte with a belief things were improving.

Larson took the win in the Open, where three drivers advance into the main feature. He kept his cool — and stayed out of trouble — during the first three stages of the All-Star race before moving from sixth to the front with a tremendous push from Harvick on a restart 12 laps from the end. Larson held off Harvick and Busch for the win.


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