10th December 2023

Darlington Raceway is already the location of controversy for NASCAR this weekend, and it hasn’t have not even gotten to Sunday’s Cup Collection race.

And a champion driver is on the middle of it: Kyle Larson. The Cup Collection star is pulling double obligation this weekend, and he received Saturday’s Xfinity Collection race after a hard-fought battle on the ultimate lap that ended with John Hunter Nemechek skidding to a fifth-place end as he raced Larson to the checkered flag.

MORE: Beginning order, pole for Goodyear 400 based mostly on qualifying outcomes

The 2 battled door to door all through the white-flag lap. Larson nudged Nemechek to make a go heading into Flip 3. The latter practically misplaced management of his automotive however managed to remain on Larson’s path and problem him. Larson then bounced off the wall in Flip 4, along with his automotive springing again into Nemechek’s and inflicting the latter to lose management as Larson received the race:

MORE: NASCAR lineup at Darlington: Beginning order, pole for Goodyear 400

The transfer sparked debate in racing circles. Some questioned whether or not Larson was too aggressive, whereas others seen how Larson was the sufferer of an analogous tactic in final week’s Cup race at Kansas, the place Denny Hamlin nudged him to win the AdventHealth 400. Larson maintained management in that race to complete second.

Larson has additionally been concerned in equally aggressive racing at Talladega and Bristol, amongst many different tracks.

That stated, neither driver Saturday appeared to have arduous emotions concerning the battle. Certainly, Nemechek discarded the notion instantly, saying, “That is good, arduous racing.” He added that his lack of management was extra a results of a racing transfer and his personal failure to foretell how Larson would act:

MORE: Why Hendrick Motorsports drivers had 100-point penalties rescinded

Likewise, Larson stated he was planning on crossing over on Nemechek and racing him to the end line, however the unintentional contact “messed each of our momentum up.”

Larson added that he hit the wall at a foul angle and was afraid it might look as if he was wall-riding, akin to Ross Chastain’s “Hail Melon” at Martinsville final yr. He added that he was fortunate he bounced off the way in which he did, even when it was at Nemechek’s expense. That stated, Larson’s major concern was maintaining away from his pursuer.

“I did not know if he was upset with me or something like that,” Larson stated. “So that you’re simply attempting to get away from him. Then I hit the wall and he acquired to my door on the similar actual time, and it form of shot him and wrecked him.

“It was unlucky that he ended up crashed — or I assume he acquired fifth, in order that’s good. However simply, yeah, I imply, wild. I have not actually seen a lot. Simply loopy.”

And to assume, Larson nonetheless has one other race to run this weekend, the Goodyear 400 on Sunday.

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