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NASCAR Review: Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Leapfrog Kyle Larson in Lose-Lose Scenario for HMS Driver

Gowtham Ramalingam

Martin Truex Jr. Finally Breaks Silence on Denny Hamlin Clash Over NASCAR No-Call

What was supposed to be a landmark day in motorsports history turned into a nightmare for Kyle Larson. Courtesy of heavy rain, he failed to create an impact in the Indy 500 and missed out on competing in the Coca-Cola 600 as well. When all the dust from the chaos settled it was apparent that he lost more than what he gained. Prime among them is his position as the points leader in the Cup Series.

Heading into Sunday, the Hendrick Motorsports driver had a 30-point lead over second-placed Martin Truex Jr. and a 39-point lead over third-placed Denny Hamlin. With nothing to take away from Charlotte, he now faces a six-point deficit to Hamlin and a one-point deficit to Truex Jr. He will now be third on the table assuming he is granted a playoff waiver by the promotion.

Hamlin finished the rain-shortened 249-lap race in fifth place and gathered 45 points. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Truex Jr, did not fare as well, ending up in 12th place to collect 31 points. Christopher Bell earned his second win of the season and took home maximum points. Larson’s misfortune ended up being a boon for his key contenders as they’ve now leapfrogged him in the race to the playoffs.

Kyle Larson about the bad luck that struck down his hopes of creating history

Larson spoke to Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass when leaving the Charlotte track and said, I’m very very thankful for the experience, obviously. Everything about the two weeks and all that was great until today. So, sad. Yeah, it’s just sad. Everything that could have went wrong today, went wrong.” He faced a late penalty in the Indy 500 and finished in 18th place.

Just as he flew into Charlotte and ran through the pits to take over the #5 Chevrolet Camaro from Justin Allgaier, the promotion waved the red flag due to thunderous storms and announced that the race was done. The moments in which the spotlight was supposed to be on Larson ended up gray, wet, and dreary. With so much hype, the weekend fell flat on its face.

The driver will get to attempt the Double again next year should he want to. He signed a two-year deal with Arrow McLaren to do so and hopes that he will come back in 2025. “I would definitely love to be back next year,” he said. “I feel like I learned a lot throughout the race [Indy 500].”  

Rick Hendrick and team will certainly hope he will bounce back from the setback and continue speeding toward his second Cup Series title.

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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