Enthralled Rick Hendrick Discloses Kyle Larson’s Unique Ability That Makes Him the Best in the Business

Published 09/25/2023, 9:15 AM EDT

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The first race of the 2023 season’s playoffs came to an end at the Texas Motor Speedway with Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron taking the win. In an impressive show of skill all season, he has been dominating the grid. And Texas brings him his 6th win of the racing year. But it was the other car of the team owner Rick Hendrick that had looked poised to visit the victory lane for most of the race. Driven by the 31-year-old Kyle Larson, the No. 5 Camaro led a dozen laps and won stage 2, before tragedy struck in the form of a gripless tire.

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Reflecting on the results that his drivers saw at the Wild West, Rick Hendrick had nothing but positive words of encouragement for Kyle.

Rick Hendrick displays pride for Kyle despite his inability to finish

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Kyle Larson has been no less of a performer this year compared to his teammate, Byron. With 3 wins so far, he was the first to qualify for the round of 12 with an unforgettable win at the Darlington Raceway. Coming to Texas, his car looked confident to repeat the magic as it led the field by over 4 seconds. But an untimely caution brought about by J.J. Yeley, a driver for SS-Greenlight Racing, changed things. It forced a restart with 25 laps to victory lane. The events that unfolded ended up with Kyle crashing out of the race amidst a battle with 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and handing over the win to his teammate in the No. 24 car.

Expressing his thoughts after the race, the duo’s benefactor, Rick Hendrick backed the unlucky Kyle and offered some words of consolation. He said, “Kyle was so strong I just thought he would drive away from Bubba. Ran it pretty hard there and guess he could left it a little bit… Kyle could have, I think he waited a minute. That’s what Larson does. That’s what I love about him. He’s gonna drive the wheels off of it every lap. So, real proud of him.”

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With William Byron securing his place in the round of 8, it is going to be an uphill climb for Kyle to do the same over the next two races. But what’s coming is not something he isn’t unfamiliar with.

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Missing out on the chance to settle things at Texas, can Kyle Larson find his way to the round of 8?

Had it not been for the caution or the No. 5 crew’s decision to run with older tires, Texas might have seen a different winner. However, the events caused Kyle to not be able to finish the race. Speaking about it in the aftermath of the race to NBC Sports, he expressed his disappointment. He said, “These cars, compared to the old ones… You don’t really get sucked around like that. So I wasn’t really expecting it and thought that I would be fine and yeah, we just went in there side by side (Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson) and I lost it really quickly and crashed. So pretty, pretty bummed…”

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The result effectively means that he will have to push harder than he has done all season, particularly in two tracks that aren’t the best of his. Over the next couple of weeks, he will be battling at the Talladega and the Charlotte Roval. With an average finish of 23.4 over 17 starts at Talladega, he will need to conjure fresh spells at the Superspeedway, if he wants to make an impact. The Roval is no different either. Though his record there fares better than at Talladega, it will pose no less a challenge. But with the support of Rick Hendrick and the resources that he has at his disposal, he stands all the chance to bounce back and set new stats on the board!

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

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Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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