A rain-delayed, incident-filled race at Talladega Superspeedway resulted in a disappointing finish for Kyle Larson. After a blown tire put the No. 32 Cessna Chevrolet in the garage for a majority of the race, an 11-car pileup late in the event brought the Turner Scott Motorsports team's night to an end, relegating Larson to a 38th-place finish.
Taking the green flag from the 19th position, Larson began to search for a drafting partner, eventually finding one in Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Danica Patrick. Larson had pushed Patrick up into the 14th position when he noticed that his temperatures were running hot. Peeking his nose out for air, Larson brushed his front bumper across the rear of the No. 34. Unfortunately, the contact caused him to hook the back of her Chevrolet, resulting in a spin and a caution on lap 15.
After apologizing profusely to his team, Larson was called by crew chief Trent Owens onto to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Emerging from the pits in 11th, Larson decided to lay back and avoid the melee in the front of the field, dropping to 18th with a small pack of cars. Suddenly, the No. 32 took a sharp turn into the grass in turns three and four. "I just blew a left-rear tire," the Rookie of the Year contender reported over the radio. After bringing the Cessna Camaro down pit road to assess the damage, Owens directed his driver to the garage for more thorough repairs.
The damage to the Camaro was extremely severe, with much of the left-rear of the No. 32 destroyed. The Turner Scott Motorsports crew worked diligently to get Larson back on the racetrack to pick up valuable positions, and on lap 94, the Cessna Chevrolet returned to green-flag racing.
Due to the heavy damage to his machine, Larson rode a comfortable distance behind the lead pack. Unfortunately, a wreck unfolded in front of him, taking out much of the field, and Larson was collected as a pair of competitors slid down the banking, leaving him nowhere to go. The damage to the No. 32 was irreparable in the handful of remaining laps, and Larson retired for good to the garage, ultimately scored in the 38th position.
"This was a rough one," said Larson after the race. "First of all, I have to apologize to Danica [Patrick]. I would never wreck my teammate like that. I was just trying to get some air to the nose because my water temp was getting high, and I hooked her. Then later, that tire blew without warning. I feel awful that our day ended like this. My guys worked so unbelievably hard to get me back out there and let me finish, but we couldn't even make it to the end when that big wreck hit. We've just had a lot of bad luck so far this season. I'm fortunate to say that over the last few years, I've had a lot of good luck, I'm just having a bad luck streak right now. But it's still early in the year, we've got a lot of ground we can make up, and I can feel that we're going to get our first Nationwide win soon."
Larson now sits 12th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Point Standings. The NASCAR Nationwide Series next hits the track next Friday, May 10 in VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.