Kyle Larson, the reigning winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway, saw his victory defense come to a premature end on Sunday (Oct. 22) afternoon after a mistake entering pit road damaged his car.
After leading 96 laps and winning the first stage, Larson drove out to another large lead in the middle of stage two.
At the end of the stage, however, Larson lost the lead as the handling on his car turned sour and Ryan Blaney made the pass for the stage win.
When green flag pit stops started, Larson attempted to follow Blaney onto pit road and attempted to close the gap. He drove in too deep, however, and after clipping Blaney’s right rear he ran into the sand barrels at the end of pit road.
The damage sustained broke the tire rod and ended the day for the No. 5 team.
“I was just maximizing all I could and I didn’t expect him to slow down so early” Larson said of the incident. “From my vantage point he just slowed down a lot, but from [replay] it just looks like I bombed it in there, so I just need to look at some data and see where I was relative to pit road speed.”
Larson is locked into the Championship 4 already, as he won at Las Vegas a week ago. Next week, he will try to sweep the 2023 Martinsville races at the Xfinity 500.
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