Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney had been battling for the race lead since the end of Stage 2 of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Larson’s shot at the race win is over after a mistake heading into pit lane on Lap 213.
Larson’s No. 5 car was barreling quickly toward pit road, and as he was closing in on the leader, Blaney, Larson realized he was about to make massive contact with Blaney.
Larson, who secured his place in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 last weekend at Las Vegas, swerved in an effort to avoid Blaney. Larson couldn’t avoid it and collided with the rear of Blaney’s car, and then he slammed into the water barrels, which serve as a barrier at the front of the pit road wall.
Here is the incident where Larson slammed into the back of Blaney, and then went hard into the water barrels at the opening of pit road: pic.twitter.com/Fh5qdzzlS8
— Toby Christie (@Toby_Christie) October 22, 2023
After the incident, Larson explained that from his seat, he didn’t feel like he was carrying too much speed onto pit road.
“I was just maximizing all I could, and I didn’t expect him to slow down so early,” Larson said. “I was just trying to get to the yellow line as quickly as possible. Felt like I was in control. From my vantage point, he had really slowed down a lot, but from there, it looks like I just bombed it in there. I just need to see some data to see where I was relative to pit road speed, and all of that.”
Despite him feeling that Blaney possibly slowed early onto pit road, Larson still feels bad for making contact with the race leader heading into the pits.
“I hate it for Ryan more than anything,” Larson explained. “He was doing a super good job out front, and his team has been doing a super good job throughout the Playoffs. That was not my intention. I was just trying to get as close to his back bumper as I could to hopefully have a good cycle, and have a better pit stop and come out in front of him and control the race from there.”
Larson says he shoulders the blame as he was simply pushing too hard.
“Upset more than anything with myself, even if he did slow down early… I shouldn’t have pushed so hard,” Larson said.
The incident brought out the red flag in the middle of a pit sequence.
Larson took his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 behind the wall after the crash and is done for the day.
Blaney is still on track, and should regain the lead once the pit road sequence cycles out.