Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Coming to the checkered flag of Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500, Kyle Larson channeled his inner Carl Edwards and rode the wall through Turns 3 and 4 to pull up to Denny Hamlin‘s bumper.
“We got to the white,” he said, “and I was like, ‘Well, I haven’t been able to gain on him now, I’m going to try something.'”
Larson gambled on Hamlin “diamonding” the turns, which he did most of the night, and he’d power around him up high.
“I didn’t want to wreck him,” he said. “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.”
Larson: I tried to video game it.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 6, 2021
Kyle Larson: ‘I tried to video game it’
Larson dominated the night at Darlington Raceway, leading a race high of 156 laps, but a slow pit stop on Lap 299 shuffled him behind Ross Chastain. A caution on Lap 319, however, mitigated the time lost, and he lined up behind Hamlin and Chastain on the Lap 326 restart.
Hamlin dealt with relatively little lap traffic in the closing laps. Thus, Larson couldn’t take advantage and complete an overtake for the lead.
“Our HendrickCars.com Chevy was really good out front, just in traffic I would get stuck,” he said. “Like in traffic I just got stuck really bad, and then there at the end losing control of the race really hurt us.”
All in all, it was a solid outing at “The Lady in Black” for Larson, with a second-place finish in Stage 1 and victory in Stage 2. Though not as memorable as his “thread the needle” pass, back in May, he leaves Darlington, South Carolina, with an 80-point cushion over the Round of 16 cutoff.
“All-in-all a great day, good points day,” he said. “Pit crew did great. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) made some good changes in the car, so try again next week.”
TOP IMAGE: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images