Kyle Larson apologizes; Christopher Bell leaves Glen frustrated

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Kyle Larson apologized, but Christopher Bell still left Watkins Glen International frustrated after their contact cost him a chance to win Sunday’s race.

The incident happened on Lap 55 of the 90-lap race.

Martin Truex Jr. led Bell and Larson as they raced down the frontstretch toward Turn 1.

Larson got inside of Bell going into Turn 1 but locked his right front wheel and slid into Bell’s car, causing it to turn. Bell fell to 10th after the incident. He went on to finish seventh, while Larson won.

Bell said he was looking for a way to get by Truex when Larson made his move.

“It’s just so frustrating because I was a lot faster than (Truex), but I was waiting for the right time to make a run on him to pass him,” Bell told NBC Sports. “He’s my teammate. I attempted several times and never quite got the momentum that I needed, so I was waiting for the right opportunity to pass him.

“At that point, (Larson) really couldn’t make a run on me either. If I could have forced the issue on my teammate and got away, I think I would have driven away.

“(Larson) didn’t have a run on me coming off of (Turn) 7 whenever he charged Turn 1. I’m focused on trying to set up (Truex) and (Larson) is dive-bombing me from whatever it was, three car lengths back at the flagstand.

“Just extremely frustrating that I was equal to him – probably better than him – and he won the race. We had an opportunity taken away from us.”

Larson apologized for the contact in his interview with NBC Sports on the track and again took the blame when he spoke to the media later.

“I definitely made a mistake getting into him,” Larson said. “He would pull me off of (Turn) 7 every time and that time I maintained. I was out-braking him the other laps. I thought I could out-brake him and at least get all the way to his inside. I was only able to get to kind of his nose and his numbers, maybe not that far, but it was close.

“At that point I’m already committed and on the verge on wheel-hopping, locking the fronts up. I was just hoping he would leave enough room. I just needed to be a few feet further up and I think I would have had position on him, but I wasn’t able to get there. He had to turn the corner, and I was as low as I could get. We made contact.

“It was definitely my fault. Not intentional, obviously. I made a mistake.”