Kyle Larson: Losing two consecutive weeks’ worth of chances to win “a bummer”

Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Nascar

Kyle Larson has been in contention to claim the victory late on two weeks in a row, but both times he lost to the same Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Nascar

The previous week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson had the lead before a late-race caution put the race into overtime. William Byron, another member of the HMS squad, beat Larson down the pit road, overtook the leader Martin Truex Jr., and then held off Larson to take the victory.

Kevin Harvick emerged to be winning Sunday at Phoenix Raceway after Larson and Byron had dominated most of the race. Then, a late-race caution brought everyone down pit road.

This time, Larson started first after Byron and he both used two new tires. Harvick was the first racer to use 4 new tires and started from position seven.

A second collision on the resumption put the race into overtime, and Byron overtook Larson with one lap remaining and beat off Ryan Blaney to win for the second time in a row with the help of Tyler Reddick’s support.

The 2021 series winner Larson attempted to accept the result, but he was still upset.

“We got lucky with the one caution, and the team made a great call to take two tires and get us out in the lead. Restarts are just tough,” he said. “I felt like I ran William up pretty high and expected him to lose some grip, but he did a really good job of holding it to my outside and clearing me down the back.

“Yeah I’m (expletive) but a great fight by the team, a great car and way better than we were here last year. It’s a long season, but hopefully we’re in the final four when we come back here in November and can have a run similar to that with speed and try to execute a little bit better in the end.”

Larson claimed he raced in far enough on the restart to get Byron loose in the upper groove, but he was also challenged by Ryan Blaney running to his inside and momentarily going three-wide.

“I think that top lane just got a little bit better the last 50 laps or so. I didn’t run in far enough and ended up getting beat,” Larson said.

“It’s a bummer, but William again executed the last two races a little bit better than I did. Congrats to him and their team. We’ll try to keep these good runs up.”

On Sunday, Larson came close to capping off an ideal weekend. He claimed the pole position for the race on Sunday after setting the quickest time in Friday’s session and the first round of qualifying on Saturday. He also drove the most laps (201).

He has led a total of 264 laps over the last two races, finishing second and fourth, and is now ranked sixth in the standings.

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Nascar, NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Cup, William Byron

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