NASCAR Insider Exposes Kyle Larson’s Crown Jewels Secret

Published 09/04/2023, 10:52 PM EDT

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Kyle Larson showcased incredible tenacity and skill to clinch the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs opener. Breaking his winless streak since Martinsville in style, Larson didn’t let the added pressure of the playoffs drag him down as he stamped his mark at Darlington.

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Being on a racetrack, where he had yet to find a win, also acted against him. But like most skilled drivers, Larson has an excellent eye for adaptability as he made amends to his approach, helped somewhat by his car. Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty was particularly impressed by the unexpected development in Larson’s plans as he breaks it down.

Kyle Petty claims Reddick and Larson’s battle was the highlight of the race

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Kyle Larson came in charge in the final stage of the race. Coming off the pit road as the first driver after the caution flag was raised due to Ryan Newman’s spin on Turn 4, Larson dominated the restart with just 51 laps remaining. In the final 47 laps, there were two more restarts which Larson had to endure, being the race leader. Hot on his heels was 23XI Racing‘s Tyler Reddick, who went close to regaining the lead but was fended off by the #5.

Speaking to NASCAR, Kyle Petty analyzes Sunday’s race and deems it a great outing rounded off by the skillful battle between Reddick and the Hendrick Motorsports star. He stated, “Kyle Larson is just… that place was built for him and Tyler Reddick.”

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“Right up next to the wall, a couple inches away, beating and banging off the wall, but never really slowing down. That’s that sprint car, that’s that midget type racing that those guys grew up on. Great to see what those guys could do and Kyle Larson checks the Southern 500 off his list.”

What Petty has indicated is something Larson also noticed in his multiple years of trying to win at Darlington. With the Next-Gen car proving to be tough enough to endure hits with the wall, it bolstered Larson’s strength against Reddick.

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It was harder than it looked for Kyle Larson

With 31 laps to go, Tyler Reddick was proving to be a big obstacle for Larson. He moved into P2 on the last restart of the race and went toe-to-toe with Larson vying for the lead. Larson held his ground as he beat the #45 car by 0.447 seconds for a maiden win at Darlington, which was called as one of the crown jewels of NASCAR by Larson earlier.

Visibly confident and brimming with joy, Larson disclosed the takeaways and emotions during the race in a post-race conversation with NBC. “Finally (executed) from start to finish,” Larson said.

“Going 18th to third in the first stage, I didn’t think that was possible but our race car was really good when the sun was out. Just had to work on it. I messed up once and it got hung in neutral, and I slid and hit the wall, and I think bent the toe link a little bit, so it was kind of a struggle from there”.

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Starting the race in P18 was yet another piece of rock in his way, as he had to battle half of the grid to find himself in a position to fight for the lead. And the moment he grabbed the lead, Reddick was coming in hot behind him. Responding to the developments in the race was something Larson had to leave worrying about as he focused his attention on keeping his lead close.

“Definitely had to fight it more than I was earlier, but we kept our heads in the game. That was really important. This race is all about keeping your head in it. I’ve been pretty hard on myself here the last couple months, but having a leader like Cliff (Daniels, crew chief), he really is good for my mind.” added Larson.

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It is a treat to see that Kyle Larson is regaining his form just in sync with the start of the playoffs. Being one of the best modern generation drivers, the expectations from Larson to deliver will undeniably be pretty high.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.
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Edited by:

Kratika Vajpayee

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