FORT WORTH, Texas — It looked like Kyle Larson had Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, right where he wanted it. He had elevated higher in the running order than any other Playoff contender, then a questionable spin by Bubba Wallace brought out a yellow flag, which ruined Larson’s race.
Larson had worked inside the top-five, but headed to pit road to start a sequence of green-flag pit stops. Then, on lap 242, Bubba Wallace — who had a flat tire — had an awkward situation where he skidded one way, then another, before ultimately spinning and bringing out the caution.
As a result, Larson — who was inside the top-five — was now stuck outside the top-15 with less than 100 laps remaining. He could not recover and finished a disappointing 12th.
Larson said that Wallace’s spin, which doomed his day, was obviously done on purpose.
“Well that was very obvious,” Larson said. “The 43 was spinning on purpose. I mean, he turned right and then left to spin out. So, when it’s blatant — that obvious — I think it’s pretty easy for them to notice it and make a call on it.”
Larson was then asked how he can see that someone spun out on purpose. Larson responded with, “I think Helen Keller coulda seen that.”
This is the second week in a row where a driver has potentially spun on the track on purpose to bring out a caution so as to minimize a tough situation on the track. Many — including 1999 NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett — believe that Joey Logano spun on purpose when he got a flat tire in Martinsville.
Now, Wallace’s spin at Texas is also under question.
Larson says he doesn’t blame Wallace, in fact, he says that he has also spun out on purpose to bring out a caution in the past. Instead, he blames the sanctioning body for not enforcing rules against bringing out intentional cautions.
“I don’t know what exactly — but I’d like to see them do something,” Larson explained. “I mean we are all guilty of doing it. I’ve done it before and came back and won Eldora. So, we’re all guilty of it, but until NASCAR does something else about it — something, they don’t do anything — we’re going to continue to do it.”
Will NASCAR start monitoring questionable spins going forward? NASCAR representatives in Texas said that they do monitor in-car video — when available — to see if drivers purposely turn their steering wheel in an effort to spin their car. But aside from that, there isn’t much more that they can do.
Regardless, another controversial spin has led to a championship contender’s would-be top-five finish turn into a run outside the top-10.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.