Kyle Larson hopes to avoid window penalty because of crash damage

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Kyle Larson‘s No. 42 Chevrolet caught everyone’s attention during Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway, and it was under the watchful eyes of NASCAR officials afterward.

During the FS1 broadcast, a NASCAR official stood behind Larson’s car, which seemed to have a major sag in its rear window. In a postrace interview (video above) Larson was asked by FS1 reporter Jamie Little if the sag was because of a collision with Ryan Blaney on Lap 248 of 267 while battling for third.

“Definitely (from the damage) because I didn’t have it until after Blaney and I got together, so I’m glad to see that we have a lot of damage back there,” Larson said. “Because obviously if there was no damage, we’d probably get a penalty, and who knows we might still, but I got a ton of damage back there.

“These cars are pretty rigid, and one piece of damage can affect the whole rest of the car as you can see, so we’ll see what NASCAR says about it, but I think it’s pretty obvious we have a ton of damage back there.”

A NASCAR spokesperson said Larson’s Camaro was taken to the R&D Center for further postrace inspection, along with Harvick’s Ford, runner-up Martin Truex Jr.‘s Toyota and Paul Menard‘s Ford.

The cars of Harvick and Truex were taken to R&D as the standard top two finishers are, and Menard’s car was the “random” that NASCAR selects. Larson’s car was taken because NASCAR officials decided further scrutiny was needed after the postrace inspection at the track.

NASCAR has penalized drivers and teams multiple times for rear window violations, including Kevin Harvick (who won Saturday at Kansas) after his victory at Las Vegas. Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez were dinged for rear window support brace failures last Sunday at Dover International Speedway, and Chase Elliott also was penalized after an 11th at Texas Motor Speedway.

Larson hung on to finish fourth Saturday after leading 101 laps and picking up his first playoff point with a win in the second stage.

“We just had a really good car tonight,” he said. “Our Chevy was fast. Blaney was side-drafting really hard. I was as high as I could get and made contact.

“I hate we didn’t turn today into a win. It’s satisfying to see how much speed we had in our car tonight. Good to show Chevy has a lot of speed, at least the 42 team. So we’ll just keep working hard and get as fast as (Harvick). I thought myself, (Harvick) and (Blaney) were pretty equal.”

 

NASCAR America: Dramatic elimination races

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Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman enter the Hollywood Casino 400 below the cutoff line by significant amounts.

Keselowski is in the best shape with an 18-point disadvantage to Martin Truex Jr. who sits on the bubble. Considering that Truex has finished first or second in the last three Kansas races, it still is not an enviable position.

Each team outside of the Top 8 feels that it is in a must-win situation unless something catastrophic happens to the competition.

As NASCAR America detailed in Wednesday’s edition, it is not the first time a driver has had to pull out a last-minute victory to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Keselowski was in this situation in 2014 at Talladega.

“I don’t want to talk about this one,” Steve Letarte said. “Because it was a must-win for me and Dale Jr. as well and he was in victory lane, which meant we were on the hauler eliminated.”

In the next round, Kevin Harvick was in a similar situation after suffering a couple of bad races early in Round 3. He dominated the field and won at Phoenix – and then went on to win the championship the next week in Homestead.

Harvick’s record at Phoenix made that win unsurprising, but the next year he found himself in trouble again entering Dover. Once more, he won and advance.

For more dramatic clutch wins in elimination races, watch the video above.

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NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Kansas preview, Kevin Meendering interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview this weekend’s races at Kansas Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Steve Letarte and Landon Cassill from Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • We’ll react to the penalty handed down to Kyle Larson that makes advancing to the Round of 8 even more challenging.
  • As cut-down day approaches in the Round of 12 for the Cup Series, we’ll look back at drivers who kept their title hopes alive with victories in elimination races.
  • Dillon Welch talks to crew chief Kevin Meendering, who is set to become Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief in 2019.
  • Joey Logano may be racing for a championship, but one of his other main goals is a far more important one: helping the lives of others, especially children. We’ll look at the story behind the Joey Logano Foundation.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Bubba Wallace named to Ebony Power 100

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Bubba Wallace has been named to Ebony Magazine’s Ebony Power 100 for his accomplishments as a NASCAR Cup series driver.

Listed as an “MVP,” Wallace joins other athletes such as Antonio Brown, Stephen Curry and Venus Williams as well as former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. 

The list was created to recognize leaders of color who have positively impacted their community.

“This is quite an honor to be recognized with others in the African-American community,” Wallace said in a press release. “It’s humbling to join a list of the other star athletes, artists and community and national leaders. I’m just trying to be the best driver that I can be and focus on winning races for Richard Petty Motorsports and our partners. To be recognized for some of our accomplishments this season is an honor and I’d like to thank Ebony for the recognition.”

Wallace gained the honor based on his on track performance early in the year, including a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

His off-track accomplishments also played a role in the selection. Wallace has been a notable influencer on social media. Earlier this year, Facebook posted a “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace” docu-series that earned more than five million views.

“We are proud of what Bubba is doing both on and off the track for our race team and our partners,” said Brian Moffitt, CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, in a press release. “We know that we have something very special with him and he continues to break barriers outside our sport to be a first-class athlete, spokesperson and inspiration to many.”

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K&N East champion to make Truck Series debut at Martinsville

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Tyler Ankrum, who won the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series title on Oct. 6, will make his Camping World Truck Series debut next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Ankrum, 17, will drive for DGR-Crosley’s No. 54 truck. Ankrum drove for the team co-owned by David Gilliland in the K&N East series.

Driving the No. 17, Ankrum earned four wins and nine top fives and led the standings for the final 12 races of the season.

The native of San Bernadino, California, had an average finish of 4.8.

Next Saturday’s race will be Ankrum’s second at Martinsville. He competed in a Late Model Stock Car race there in 2014.

“Making my Truck Series debut at Martinsville is huge. So many big names in the sport have made their national series debut at Martinsville,” Ankrum said in a press release. “I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long now, I can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s going to be really cool having (crew chief) Seth (Smith) and my K&N guys there with me.”