Kyle Larson didn't have anything to worry about heading into Homestead after winning the first race of the Round of 8 at Las Vegas last week. So, he was just looking to build some more momentum as the NASCAR season heads towards its final and championship deciding race at Phoenix. For a while, he looked like he had the car to win a second-straight race. He led 96 of the first 160 laps of the event, which included a Stage One win.
Larson's good fortune changed rather quickly while coming to the pit lane during a round of green flag pitstops in the final stage of Sunday's 4EVER 400.
Larson found himself in second to Ryan Blaney with 60 laps remaining in the race, and as Blaney came to the pits for his final stop, Larson followed in an attempt to jump Blaney for position with a faster stop.
Quickly closing in on the rear of Blaney's No. 12 Ford, Larson veered to the right to avoid running into the back of it. While Larson avoided hitting Blaney, the move caused him to slam into the sand barrels at the start of the pit lane.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 22, 2023
Blaney continued without an issue, but for Larson, the damage was significant enough to end his race. He is already locked into the Championship Four, so the accident doesn't hurt him, but he wasn't too thrilled with himself following his error.
"I was just trying to push it as much as I could. (Blaney) had a great car and I felt like if he was to come off put road the leader, he was going to end up winning the race or beating me," Larson said. " I was just trying to maximize my pit-in, and honestly, I felt like I was doing a really good job. I just didn't anticipate him slowing down as much as he did. But on the replay, it looks like I just missed it by a lot. I need to look at the data."
Larson didn't accuse Blaney of any misdoing approaching pit lane but instead blamed himself for what happened. Larson also admitted he was angry with his misjudgment.
"I'm pretty upset at myself, more than anything. Whether he got to pit road sooner than the yellow line or not, I could have just done a little bit better job judging it," Larson said.
It won't cost him in this situation, but Larson certainly can't afford this kind of mistake once the series goes to Phoenix to decide the 2023 Championship.
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