Kyle Larson made a very bold move towards the end of the race at Darlington to overtake leader Denny Hamlin for the win.
As the race entered the final laps, Larson drove to the corner of Turn 3 and into the wall. By Turn 4, he was near Hamlin’s rear bumper but the damage sustained to his car was didn’t allow him to continue his push further. Nonetheless, he finished the race second behind Hamlin.
“We got to the white (flag), and I was like, well, I haven’t been able to gain on him now, I’m going to try something. Honestly got to his bumper too quick,” Larson said. “I was hoping he was going to run that diamond to kind of be safe and I could skirt to his outside but (I) gave everything I had.
“I didn’t want to wreck him, I just wanted to try to get to his outside there, but he did a great job not really making any mistakes during the last run, and I was having to push really hard in second to try and just stay with him.”
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Larson was one of the best drivers on the track. He led most laps in the race. 156 of the 367 laps. Hamlin was second with 146, which included the final 69 laps.
“I was hoping we’d catch some sort of traffic, but we never really did,” Larson said. “Our Chevy was really good out front, just in traffic I would get stuck. Like in traffic I just got stuck really bad.
“Then there at the end losing control of the race really hurt us, but all-in-all a great day, good points day. Pit crew did great. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) made some good changes in the car, so try again next week.”
While Hamlin, with his first win of the 2021 season, will go to the Round of 12 by the virtue of a win, Larson still tops the standings and has a 34 points lead over Hamlin.
“It’s good to get a good start. I think everybody’s, you know, nervous getting ready for the final 10 (races) and just the anticipation of how it’s going to go,” Larson said. “So good to get a good first week in and build some momentum and some confidence within the team.”