NASCAR Crash Course: Kyle Larson crowns three roaring weeks with Homestead . win

crash itself. Someone else destroyed it. The leader then spins on a pit road about 20 laps from the finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It’s hard to find a crazier three weeks for Kyle Larson since his return to the NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2021. Nevertheless, he somehow found his way into the victory lane at Homestead, the dominant car most of the day in driving a high race 199 from 267 laps.

Even the win was controversial, as this was a race that Martin Truex, Jr. lost as much as Larson won. After a well-timed warning that gave Toyota’s 19th driver an advantage for the first time of the day, he held a nearly two-second lead when he waved yellow one last time for Tyler Riddick’s turn into Turn Two.

All the main lap cars rushed down a pit path for new tires, and Larson found himself inches away from his rival, increasing every advantage he could get from second place.

“From my point of view,” Larson said. “I just run his speed on the road…I had a few feet from the front bumper to the front bumper. Normally, it flakes and stays in the gasoline until the guy gets a lane to go through.”

“He started to peel, hit the brakes and I hit him. I didn’t have time to really react, I was so close to him.”

“It’s really hard to see through these windshields at the moment and sun like this and all the things that are covering it,” Truex said of the accident. “I definitely saw my box late, so I slowed down before I got off Route 5 there.

“Obviously, a part of me. I wasn’t expecting to turn around.”

And no one expected any of the drivers to be ahead in the first place. While Truex’s winless year continued – he finished sixth, Larson entered that race on a stumble after contact with Bubba Wallace last weekend caused severe wrecks and physical revenge last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wallace was suspended from the race due to the accident, and later apologized publicly even though the drivers did not speak individually.

It came after Larson’s 12th round disaster in Charlotte where he lost control, slammed the outer wall and failed to advance in the playoffs. That’s what crew chief Cliff Daniels blamed for a season-long “lack of execution” that he tried to correct with a rousing speech Sunday morning in front of his team.

“If we did our job at our worst, we’d be really good,” he said. “And if we do our job to the best of our ability, we’ll be great. That’s the window.”

The thrust pairs perfectly with one of Larson’s best trails, the aging Homestead dock and riding groove matching his driving style.

“I hope they don’t rebuild this place,” Larson joked on Sunday, as he raised his run to 529 laps here. “It’s perfect and it keeps getting better.”

The race, in which Larson sometimes holds a lead of about 10 seconds, is reminiscent of his dominant attempt in which he took 10 wins last year. But that victory still gave him something to race for, keeping him in the 5th place alive for the Owner’s Championship in Phoenix.

“We’ve had a really hard year building character and we’ve had to be strong through adversity and learn from our mistakes,” Daniels added. “To stay in it and have a chance is very special.”

Traffic report

Green color: Ross Chastain and A.J. Allmendinger. Chastain suddenly rises, finishing second in a row and leaving him 19 points above the cut-off line with one race remaining before Championship 4. As for the Allmendinger? His battle for second place with Chastain left him excited, not angry with a driver who has been the focus of controversy for most of the year. “It was as fun as it was really there,” Allmendinger said, finishing sixth in a row in a tenth place at the Cup level. “I was just having fun.”

yellow: Joe Gibbs Racing. Truex was in a position to win, and at one point, Denny Hamlin made his way to the front. Christopher Bell used strategy to get there as well, while Kyle Bush had a rare consistent run. But the JGR team came out empty-handed, without a stage win or fifth place despite all four cars placing 11th or better. If the year ends now, JGR will not have a single driver inside Championship 4 for the first time since this format began in 2014.

red: John Hunter Nemecic. The one-race deal in the #45 Toyota, to replace the suspended Wallace, was an important test for this former full-time Trophy. But a promising weekend included a qualifying effort for fourth place that went out the window with an early spin that had him battling position for the rest of the race. Nemechek finished on the lap at 27.

Speed ​​ticket: NASCAR Appeals Board. It’s worth noting again that the reason Larson was out of the championship was a decision to waive Byron’s 25-point penalty for what appeared to be a deliberate spin by Denny Hamlin at Texas Motor Speedway.

So instead of Larson making his way inside, Hendrick Motorsports still risks owning no one of their drivers advance to the final round. Byron sits just five points above the cut-off line while his best choice of the year, Chase Elliott, was 14th at Homestead and left himself vulnerable to disqualification.

Oops!

Ryan Blaney’s chances of winning the championship may be due to this embarrassing mistake that changed the look of racing at Homestead. As he started speeding off his last green flag stop of the day, Blaney made a fatal mistake re-entering the track and turned his #12 Ford, ruining what was likely a top-5 effort.

In this, the voice tells us everything we need to know.

“I turned down,” Blaney said. “I went from second to first, like Dumba**. Two weeks in a row, I made mistakes and it cost us good finishing…not a good look for me.”

Blaney now sits 18 points below the cut-off line and almost certainly needs a win in Martinsville to win Championship 4.


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