Kyle Larson may be a rookie on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but he’s not racing like one.
Larson looked to be in position to get his first-ever Sprint Cup victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, only to finish sixth in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.
Larson, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet, had one of the few cars that could challenge race winner Kevin Harvick’s Chevrolet. He led twice for five laps, including a pass of Kyle Busch – on the outside, no less – on the 264th lap.
“I thought we were going to be pretty good,” Larson said. “I was really confident. Even though we were 30th after Happy Hour (the final practice), I knew we were going to be fast.
“The top groove got going, and I was able to run up there, get to the front and lead for a little bit. But the yellow came out, and I lost some spots on pit road.”
Larson made another run for the lead, climbing to second behind Denny Hamlin on Lap 281. But a few laps later, he scraped the wall coming off the fourth turn.
“I hit the wall chasing the 11 (Hamlin),” Larson said. “That messed up the aerodymanics a little bit. I was really tight after that. I just held on.”
Keselowski hit Hamlin’s car on the cool-down lap, and hit Kenseth’s and Tony Stewart’s cars on pit road after the race. That ignited a fight between Keselowski’s and Kenseth’s crews, with Hamlin being held back by his crew from joining in.
“I had my HANS (restraint) off and my seatbelts off and he clobbers me at like 50 (mph),” Kenseth said. “If he wants to come and talk about it like a man then go do thar, but to try to wreck somebody on the race track and to come down pit road with other cars and people standing around … is just inexcusable. There is no excuse for that. He’s a champion and he’s supposed to know better than that.”
The start of the race was switched to ESPN3 – ESPN’s online video service – for the start. Coverage didn’t move back to ABC until after Baylor’s victory over TCU, missing the first 27 laps of the race.