American Racing

Kyle Larson Makes it to the Final Four amid Chaos for Playoff Drivers

Kyle Larson does it again

NASCAR made its last trip to the Lone Star State for 2021. This time, it was the oval that played host to the first race of the Playoffs’ Round of 8. Kyle Larson took his eighth win of the year and punched his way to Phoenix for the Final 4. All that sitting at the front while a bunch of Playoff drivers wrecked behind him.

Smooth Sailing

Kyle Larson led the field to the green flag in a trouble-free race up until the first pit stop cycle in lap 22. Kyle Busch had to go to the back of the field after speeding at pit road. Number 18 was lucky at the rear as he nearly avoided Bubba Wallace‘s wreck at the backstretch. Everyone settled into the race after “The big one” struck early. Nonetheless, others did anything but settle. Christopher Bell, for instance, struggled to generate speed off the corners.

Ryan Blaney had problems of his own as well. While the Penske driver ran second, he was three laps short on fuel by the end of the stage. He had to turn off his engine on the corners to save every drop of gas there was. It paid off in the end as he crossed the finish line right behind stage winner Kyle Busch.

The Hendrick Show

Busch kept the lead for the start of the second stage. Nonetheless. Larson got a hold of the lead. Teammate William Byron came in to help a couple of laps later Both cars rolled at the front for almost the entire stage.

They were so in front that third-place Ryan Blaney was kept 7.1 seconds off the front by the end of the stage. Up next were the final laps, along with some smoke, and fie.

Where there is Smoke, the is Fire. Lots of Fire

Kurt Busch got very loose off the backstretch and came inches away from hitting the wall. That should’ve been a sign of things to come. Up at the front Team Penske was having a formidable day: Brad Keselowski ran 3rd. Blaney was 4th and Joey Logano sat 8th.

Yellow flags came pouring like rain in the final 60 laps of the race. It all started with Joey Logano. The Connecticut native had a broken engine as Larson and Byron continued to lead the field. Anthony Alfredo was brake checked 6 laps later and hit the wall hard before catching on fire. Thankfully, the safety crew acted quickly, and Alfredo was out of the car in seconds. Cars were stopped as a red flag dropped to clean fluids off the track.

It only took six laps after the restart for another caution to come out as Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin made slight contact. Enough for Hamlin to lose a tire and spin. He managed to beat the pace car and stay on the lead lap but was collected 8 laps later in a crash kick-started by Chase Briscoe.

After so much chaos, debris, and rubber, NASCAR ran out of green flag laps. There were only two laps to go and four drivers looking for the win. Byron and Larson got in front of everyone yet again, The 24 put his team first, Larson crossed the finish line and punched his ticket to the Final Four in Phoenix.

What’s Next for NASCAR?

The Round of 8 continues from the Midwest as NASCAR heads a tidy bit North for a race at Kansas Motor Speedway next Sunday.

Missed the Round of 12? Catch up with the Playoffs HERE  

Featured Image: Getty Images

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