Disturbing DNF Pattern Should Worry Kyle Larson and HMS Before 2024 NASCAR Season

Srijan Mandal
|Published November 20, 2023

The 2023 Cup Series season ended with Ryan Blaney taking home the Championship. Meanwhile, looking back at some of the figures, there seems to be a worrying trend emerging within the Hendrick Motorsports garage.

#5 driver and 2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson had a total of 7 DNFs in the 2022 season and in the 2023 season, he had 8. That is the second-highest number of DNFs after Austin Dillon.

There were several instances throughout the season where Larson’s on-track antics left him in a position where he almost surrendered the win. However, not all of them may have been his fault entirely, like the one at Pocono where he contacted JGR’s Denny Hamlin.

Regardless, this trend of the increasing number of DNFs every year could end up being a detriment to the HMS outfit moving forward. Interestingly, this concerning trend was previously also highlighted and discussed at length by NASCAR insider Kyle Petty.

NASCAR Analyst Kyle Petty spoke about this very concern regarding Kyle Larson

In an interview a little while back, Kyle Petty explained that Larson positions himself in a way that prevents him from winning the race, rather than putting himself in a position to win. Petty emphasized that this is not a giveaway, but rather a result of poor decision-making while driving.

He then went on to share all of the instances where he lost out on the win. “Phoenix with William Byron, Darlington with (Ross) Chastain, Pocono with Denny (Hamlin), and then Texas with Bubba (Wallace),” said Petty.

He urged Larson to “up his game” and “mature just enough” to realize the times when situations like these arise. Heading into the 2024 season Larson and Hendrick Motorsports will have to look into this matter and take action before things get out of hand and cause problems.

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About the author

Srijan Mandal

Srijan Mandal

Srijan Mandal is a Senior NASCAR Journalist at The Sportsrush with a wealth of experience and expertise in the world of motorsports. With several thousand articles under his belt over the years, he has established himself as a leading authority on all things racing. His passion for motorsports started at a young age, and he has dedicated his career to covering the sport in all its forms. He is an expert in various disciplines, including stock car racing, American motorsports, Formula 1, IndyCar, NHRA, MotoGP, WRC, WEC, and more. But Srijan's love for racing goes beyond his writing. He actively competes in professional open-wheel simulation racing, using the number 88 as his racing number. While he mostly participates in GT Endurance classes, he also ventures into Stock Car classes from time to time. In case, you wish to contact Srijan, kindly send an email to him at srijan.mandal@sportsrush.com or just DM him on Twitter.

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