VIDEO: Kyle Larson ‘bummed’ after crash ends his Chicago hopes

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 07: Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet) crashes into the tire barrier in turn six during the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 165 at the Chicago Street Circuit on July 07, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Polesitter Kyle Larson seemed poised Sunday to take the win on the Chicago Street Course.

Until he wasn’t.

Larson was fifth at the end of Stage 1. And like everyone else was forced to wait out a rain delay.

After the delay just after the restart for Stage 2, Larson, perennial road course favorite, saw his hopes for a win and his day come to an end. On lap 34 while pestering Ty Gibbs for second place, Larson charged towards Turn 6. After nearly getting into the back of Gibbs Larson’s brakes locked up and his Chevy shot nose first into the tire barriers. He tried to reverse out and make it back to the pits, but with heavy damage to the No. 5 and no steering was forced to park.

“As soon as I hit the brakes, it was not slowing down,” Larson said. “I was just going to try and end up wherever I ended up. But yeah, it smashed the car up pretty good. It’s just unfortunate.. I’m bummed. It just caught me off guard. You push the brake zones a little bit more each lap as you’re getting more comfortable, but it just surprised me.”

Turn 6 a left hander seemed to be cursed for several drivers including last year’s winner Shane van Gisbergen who also won Saturday’s Xfinity race. He had crashed in the same corner earlier in the race.

“Yeah, I mean it’s a tricky corner,” Larson said. “It’s fast to a heavy brake zone. But yeah, I could have just been more cautious probably.”

Larson’s crash robbed him and his Hendrick crew of a chance to get his car better and maybe, eventually, contend for the win.

“Before the rain, I was lacking a little bit of lateral grip, but I feel like we would have gotten it better,” Larson said.

Because of the rain NASCAR had set a time limit on Sunday’s race due to darkness, that seemed to increase a sense of urgency. Larson admitted that could have been a factor in his crash.

“Maybe slightly, but yeah, I don’t know… maybe that bit me” Larson said. “I’m not really sure. We were all just getting more comfortable each lap. As soon as I went to the brakes, it was just locked-up.”

Larson said that prior to the crash the damp slick track wasn’t an issue.

“No, not at all,” he said. “Typically, I feel like in the rain whenever I’ve run in wet conditions, we’re always really slow in braking. It always stops better than you think. So yeah, that time, I probably pushed it just barely further, and as soon as I hit the brakes, I knew I was in trouble.”

Greg Engle