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UPDATE: Car Chief Ejected from No. 5 Team, Larson Serving Pass-Through After Unapproved Adjustment

Kyle Larson unapproved adjustments roof rail NASCAR Cup Series Talladega Superspeedway GEICO 500 qualifying

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

UPDATE (April 21st, 2024):

It’s been a tough start to the weekend for 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson.

After being barred from posting a time in single-vehicle qualifying on Saturday due to an unapproved adjustment to the roof rail, the Elk Grove, California native is facing further penalties that will impact the start of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

On Saturday, the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro went back through technical inspection, where the sanctioning body made a final determination on the penalty to be assessed to Larson and Hendrick Motorsports.

The implications of the penalty are two-fold: Jesse Saunders, car chief for the No. 5, has been ejected from Talladega Superspeedway, while Larson, already starting at the rear of the field for Sunday’s 188-lap contest, will have to serve a pass-through penalty.

Potentially the only silver lining to this penalty, though, is the fact that Larson — now missing three crew members at Talladega — will not be receiving any further points penalties or crew suspensions beyond this weekend’s event.

Barring an early caution in Sunday’s GEICO 500, Larson will likely have to rely on a free pass to get himself back in contention, as the pass-through will likely cost him a lap eventually, due to not being in the lead pack.

ORIGINAL STORY (April 20th, 2024):

Kyle Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team will not score their fourth-consecutive NASCAR Cup Series pole as the car will not be permitted to take a qualifying lap Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. On the way to the grid for Saturday’s qualifying session for Sunday’s GEICO 500, Larson’s team made an unapproved adjustment to the roof rail on the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

If there are any additional penalties from the unapproved adjustments, they will be announced by NASCAR early next week.

Cliff Daniels and Hendrick Motorsports declined comment in the NASCAR Cup Series garage area, and a representative for the team says they may issue a statement after they conclude their talk with the sanctioning body about the infraction.

By not taking a lap in qualifying, Larson will start Sunday’s GEICO 500 from the 38th and final starting spot on the grid.

The worst starting spot for Larson this season, prior to this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, was 17th, which he recorded at Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. Larson’s average starting position heading into the weekend was a series-best 7.7.

With the driver of the No. 5 being relegated to a 38th-place starting position at Talladega, his average starting position will balloon to 10.7.

While Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, has amassed 24 wins over the course of his NASCAR Cup Series career, the California native has yet to score a win at a Superspeedway event. While he won’t start from the ideal position in Sunday’s GEICO 500, anything can happen at Talladega Superspeedway.

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2 Responses

  1. I am tired of nascar picking on Larson, are they upset because he’s leading in points or is Hamlin upset because he’ s not points leader. I am tired of Fox, you can’t even warch a race without all the commerials. I thought Clint Boyer was a friend of Larson, Wow, who needs friends who never have anything good to say about your racing. Sick to death of Bubba Wallace complaing about not winning. He needs to grow up, and by the way there is more than one black guy driving i. Nascar.

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