Home Other Sports News Kyle Larson Punches Ticket To The Championship 4

Kyle Larson Punches Ticket To The Championship 4

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Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

Las Vegas, NV – Kyle Larson, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, does it again. He has dominated the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway leading 133 laps where he has won the South Point 400.

This win earned him the first spot of the Championship 4, and punched his ticket to the final race for the NASCAR
Championship in Phoenix.

Although Larson swept both stages, it surely wasn’t easy. He did have a bout with the wall at turn 2 during the second stage. His back end started to spin out, tagged the wall with his right rear, and he somehow was able to correct it and continue on.

That was his great luck with how well the Next-Gen Cup car held up.

“Whatever it is about the next-gen car, I’m sure it was just an accident when they built it- I don’t mean that negatively – but I don’t think anybody can draw a car up to where you’re almost at a disadvantage while leading,” he said.

“With the next-gen car, the leader just has so much more load with the clean air on your car that you wear out the right rear tire so much faster. That’s why the leader always gets loose. It just makes the racing really tight, because the leader has his hands full after 15-20 laps and can’t really get away. That’s what I was fighting with in the end.”

Crew chief Cliff Daniels was asked about the save and said, “Huge credit to Larson, it was a ridiculous save.” On a scale of 1-10, he mentioned that while everyone would likely give it a 10, he gave it a 9.4. “If he wants a 10, well don’t hit the wall!” he said with
a laugh.

Larson can now take a small breather and not worry too much about the upcoming races at Homestead-Miami and Martinsville, since he is locked into the Final Four.

Larson said that this year feels quite similar to his 10 wins he earned in the 2021 Championship-winning season although he has only won 4 races this season.

“I know in the win column it doesn’t show that, but in sheer speed and stuff, I feel like we’ve been very similar to where we were in 2021. We’ve probably contended for as many wins as
we did then.

It’s just, these next-gen races are tougher to win. Thankfully we’re in position like we were in 2021, and hopefully we can cap it off like we did then too.”

Christopher Bel, No. 20 car came in for a very close second with less than 1 second behind Larson. He was very determined to try to pass Larson. He got up to 1.5 seconds and was closing the gap in the last 20 laps coming in 0.082 seconds crossing the finish
line after Larson.

“I could see Bell coming in my mirror for sure,” Larson said. “He has always raced us extremely clean. It could have gotten a lot crazier at the start-finish line for sure.”

Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman, Jeff Gordon was on the edge of his seat, saying “My gosh what a nail-biter in those last few laps. You saw Bell really working the outside lane.”

Bell, who sits two points outside of the Championship 4 stated, “I don’t know what else I could have done. I feel like that was my moment to make the final four and I didn’t quite
capture it.”

Bell also went on to say “I knew Kyle would be blocking so I went high and he did too. It wasn’t enough but it was a great day to get those stage points. We’re not out of it by any means but it would have been good to lock it in.”

Blaney originally finished sixth, but received a late shake up when NASCAR disqualified him after his No. 12 Penske Ford failed post-race inspection. NASCAR announced his car had a left-front shock that didn’t meet the overall specified length. This violated
NASCAR Rule Book section 14.11.3.5, which lists the minimum extended damper lengths for each shock.

However, on Monday, they rescinded the disqualification, citing an issue with the inspection process. A statement from NASCAR read as follows:

“After further review of the inspection process throughout this weekend’s events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR has rescinded the No.12 disqualification penalty.

“Monday morning during its race weekend debrief, NASCAR discovered an issue with the damper template used for inspection.”NASCAR then conducted a detailed investigation, and has restored the No. 12’s stage and race finishing positions from Sunday.

“NASCAR has taken internal steps to remedy this issue moving forward.”

Team Penske released the following statement in response to Monday’s news: “We are pleased with the decision by NASCAR to rescind the post-race disqualification to the No. 12 car following Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR has shown a tremendous amount of integrity throughout the process which has led to this conclusion.

We are proud of the effort and the results by the No. 12 team during the 2023 season. We look forward to continuing the pursuit of the NASCAR Cup Series championship.”

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs No. 54 and team were penalized after he caused a caution from his front wheel coming off after he hit the wall in turn 2. He was able to limp around turns 3 and 4 and into pit road. Two crew members, Braxton Brannon (jack),
Jackson Gibbs (front-tire changer) and rookie Ty Gibbs were issued suspensions Tuesday after a wheel detached from the car during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Their suspension came under Sections 8.8.10.4.A & C (Tires and Wheels) in the NASCAR Rule Book. The bans are set to be in
effect for the Cup Series’ events this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Oct. 29 at Martinsville Speedway.

Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native, was third, followed by Brad Keselowski (38 laps led) in fourth and Ross Chastain in fifth. The points standings are tight with William Byron just nine points above the cut-line, followed by Martin Truex Jr. (+2pts) and

Denny Hamlin (+2pts). Bell (-2pts), Tyler Reddick (-16pts), Ryan Blaney(-17pts), and Chris Buescher (-23pts) are in the elimination zone leaving Vegas.

NASCAR Cup Series EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS: South Point 400 | 10/15/23 | Motorsports on NBC.