There aren't many people better at driving a stock car than Kyle Larson - or in the case of Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Tyson 250, a stock truck.
In the first NASCAR National Series event to be contested at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 27 years, Larson took the field to school, leading 138 of 250 laps en-route to the win.
However, unlike several of the drivers in the field for Saturday's event at the 0.620-mile facility, the Elk Grove, California-native had made no laps when the track opened for practice on Friday.
Though, when Saturday's 250-lap contest got underway, Larson had been on-track for NASCAR Cup Series practice, as well as Truck Series practice and qualifying
Starting the race from the back-half of the top-10, Larson was able to witness a myriad of pit strategies occur in the race's first stage, in which he finished exactly where he started, eighth.
However, by the 30-lap mark of the second stage, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion found himself battling for the lead with Corey Heim, who started from the pole on Saturday.
Upon taking the lead, it was clear that Spire Motorsports had brought Larson the fastest truck in the field, as the No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado jetted away from the pack, at one point leading by over five seconds.
As strategy calls became more unified, a result of a consistent display of cautions throughout the event, Larson continued to be comfortably in the lead, until a late-race yellow with 25 to go, left drivers to shake things up.
Bubba Wallace, Hailie Deegan, and Ross Chastain, among others, chose to stay on-track with older tires, meaning Larson, Heim, and the other race leaders would have some work to do in the race's closing laps.
While Larson was able to make quick work of Deegan and Chastain, his fellow NASCAR Cup Series competitor gave him fits in the closing laps, with a spirited battle unfolding between the two drivers.
Coming to 13 laps to go, Larson was able to sneak around the TRICON Garage entry, placing his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado back in the lead.
A late-race caution threw things into dismay with four laps to go, though, and even though several teams had a set of sticker tires laying, not many chose to take advantage of them.
With the No. 1 Toyota Tundra starting on the outside lane on the race's final restart, in NASCAR Overtime, the outside lane got severely bottled up, leaving Larson to drive away from the field.
Ty Majeski finished in the runner-up position on a two-tire strategy call, snapping a streak of races without a top-10 for ThorSport Racing. Matt DiBenedetto finished in third, while Carson Hocevar and Bubba Wallace finished inside the top-five.
Corey Heim, Matt Crafton, Chase Purdy, Ross Chastain, and Grant Enfinger completed the top-10.
As the series leaves North Wilkesboro, Corey Heim jumps to the lead in the NASCAR Truck Series standings, holding station at the top over Ty Majeski, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, and Christian Eckes.
For the 11th event of 2023, the NASCAR Truck Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway, as part of NASCAR's Memorial Day Weekend festivities.
Image Courtesy of Will Bellamy, Racing America