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What happened to Kyle Larson at Talladega?

Jake Nichol October 5, 2021
What happened to Kyle Larson at Talladega?
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It was a tough day for Kyle Larson in the re-scheduled NASCAR race at Talladega, but what happened to him? How does the result affect his standings in the Playoffs ahead of the Charlotte roval this weekend?

Tough Talladega day for Larson

Thanks to his excellent form throughout the regular season and first few races of the Playoffs, Larson had built up a healthy points lead.

Pre-race at Talladega, the #5 Hendrick was +57 points to the cutline for the Round of 8.

Indeed, such was Larson’s points buffer, he was the only driver, aside from the already locked-in Denny Hamlin, who could afford to take Talladega relatively easy.

And as stage one developed at the superspeedway on Monday afternoon, that’s what Larson was doing – just minding his own business.

NASCAR 21: Ignition | Trailer

NASCAR 21: Ignition | Trailer

Allgaier contact wrecks Larson’s race

With just five laps to go in the first 60-lap stage segment, Larson was running the high-line.

In the middle of the pack, he was hit broadside by the #77 of Justin Allgaier.

Allgaier had been given a shove up the rear by Larson’s teammate William Byron – and could not keep control.

He speared into the side of Larson’s Chevrolet Camaro, destroying bodywork and knocking the steering out of alignment.

Larson reported that, instead of being at the 12 o’clock position as is normal, the piece of tape on his steering wheel indicating the centre was pointing to five o’clock.

He brought the car down to pitroad as Chris Buescher took the stage win under caution.

Larson’s crew was against the damaged vehicle policy clock, but swift repairs got him back out for stage two start.

However, shortly after stage two start Larson’s day went from bad to worse.

Larson blow-out at Talladega

Having met minimum speed, Larson was wary of a tyre blowout, telling his team he felt the car could not handle the forces placed on it.

On Lap 68 at the superspeedway, the right-front tyre blew out, sending Larson into the fence.

Crew chief Cliff Daniels and the team once again managed to get him back on track for the remainder of the race.

However, Larson was in a severely crippled machine, and was running four laps down at the back, on his own.

This made any further progress impossible, as he did not have any other drivers to draft with.

Larson was officially credited with a 37th place finish, picking up just a solitary point for his troubles.

What does it mean for Larson in the Playoffs?

Race-winner Bubba Wallace did not qualify for the Playoffs, so his win does not advance him to the Round of 8.

Larson’s buffer of +57 was whittled down at Talladega to +22 above the cutline.

Hamlin regained the overall points lead thanks to Larson’s bad day, but the #5 still sits second.

He has 3,097 points, with Kyle Busch currently the final driver above the cutline on 3,084.

The final race in the Round of 12 of the Playoffs will be the Charlotte roval this Sunday.

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.