Kyle Larson Dissects the Consequences of His Actions With Bubba Wallace as Daytona Gets Closer

Published 02/04/2024, 1:31 PM EST

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The 2024 Busch Light Clash witnessed some aggressive ‘clashes.’ Throughout the race, there were instances of drivers wrecking each other and retaliating against contacts. Kyle Larson versus Bubba Wallace is one of the heated rivalries that found another spark of temper at the Coliseum. Following Bubba’s warning to the spotter convention during the first caution after the mid-race break, he roughed up the #5 Chevrolet several times in the overtime restart.

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While the broadcasting cameras missed Kyle Larson’s retaliation, the commentator booth led by Mike Joy noticed the ongoing tussle between the two. With the pair’s shoving incident in Las Vegas two years ago fresh in mind, Larson doesn’t want the rivalry to spill outside of the Clash. As the Daytona 500 closes in, Larson emphasized maintaining healthy relations with Bubba and moving on from the altercation in a post-race presser.

Kyle Larson hopes to ‘forgive and forget’

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In the 78th lap, Alex Bowman bumped Tyler Reddick’s No.45 Toyota. The contact started a series of events, ending with Reddick colliding with his teammate, Bubba Wallace. Frustrated by the lack of space on a packed short track, Bubba conveyed that he wanted to race hard and use all means to make a pass.

The implications of his words were realized in the overtime as the #23 driver tried to shove Kyle Larson and make way for an overtake. While his vision didn’t materialize, it managed to anger the Hendrick Motorsports star. Larson retaliated by spinning him after the restart on Turn 4. Referring to the pair locking horns previously, Larson said, “Obviously, Bubba and I have had history in the past.”

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“I’m sure, or I don’t really know, you know, I mean, hopefully, forgive and forget. Like I said, he ran through me three times. I was just the one who happened to get him at the end. I hope he understands that part of it, but given our history, who knows? I’m over it. I probably would have been over it, too, if roles were reversed. I ran through him three times, and he finally spun me out on the last corner.”

Kyle Larson snatched another top-5 finish at the end of the evening while Bubba was relegated to P12. Having fought for the lead numerous times, Larson even had a chance to hold on to his brief lead. However, a feisty evening at the Coliseum ensured multiple hindrances en route to the checkered flag. Adding more about the reason for his disapproval of Bubba Wallace’s actions, Larson highlighted the contrast in personalities.

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Larson tried to expect contacts as the race ensued

At a regular Cup Series race in 2024, a fan can expect to notice different kinds of drivers. While some prefer to keep it clean, like William Byron, some would chase their fellow drivers aggressively to make a statement. Kyle Larson is usually a calm presence on the grid, trying to win clean and uncontested. However, like at the Coliseum, the 30-year-old can turn up the offense.

“We have different personalities, too. Everybody handles it differently,” claimed Kyle Larson. “It’s just a product of this racing. I try to tell myself to let things slide a little bit more, just knowing that hits are coming from behind and stuff, but usually when you’re out there, you can get a good sense of when it’s happening from the car directly behind you or far back. So it’s just kind of the way it goes with this race.”

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Having faced aggressive opponents multiple times, the 2021 champion is acquainted with the pressure. He displayed the same as he held his position on the final restart to claim a top-5 finish. As for the 23XI Racing driver, he could have fought for a top-5 finish if not for stepping on the lion’s tail with his hits at Larson.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Even before he made his way into the world of motorsports, he had already made a name for himself in the sports journalism field by working as a writer for a few media houses. Now, having covered multiple Cup races live, he has often been the first to report on-track incidents and also provide his readers with an in-depth analysis of the same.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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