Kyle Larson details the race with Kevin Harvick at Auto Club Speedway and explains the frustrating outburst in radio communication
Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick were battling hard for the 3rd position on lap 37 of 200 at Auto Club Speedway. The two sliced through traffic and exchanged side drafts down the straight.
Larson ran on the left rear of Harvick off turn 2, no contact. Harvick got loose and Larson was going to power by into turn 3. However, it all went wrong down the back straight-away.
An aggressive side-draft from Harvick or a possible showing of his displeasure resulted in contact. Harvick came off the wall by a lane and a half toward the right-rear of the #42. Larson held his line and the #4 Chevy made contact.
Harvick, who’s had the dominant car, winning the previous 3 races, was sent into the outside retaining wall. Larson continued, finishing 2nd. Harvick on the other hand picked up just 2 points, crashing before the conclusion of stage 1.
Jeff Gluck: Were you surprised that you were racing so hard? Did you think one of you was going to let the other person go?
“No, I wasn’t surprised that we were racing that hard. Or that he was racing me as hard as he was to try and hold me off,” Kyle Larson responds from the Auto Club Speedway media center.
“You know, he had pitted a lap before me. So, I had a lap fresher tires than him and was better than him, at that point of that little run that we got in.”
“I think he knew that he was better than I was, overall. So, he was just trying to hold me off and race me hard to maybe burn my stuff up and then he could stay in front of me and not have to worry about me 10-15 laps later when he would be better than me again.”
“So, I wasn’t surprised that we were racing hard. I was actually having a lot of fun racing like that. Cause this place is cool, you can kinda just go wherever.”
“I was a lot better than him in 3-4 and in 1-2 he was was just a little bit better than me, in those few laps. Yeah, just got to battlin’. You know, really-really hard.”
After the incident, Kyle Larson made a lengthy pit stop to repair minor damage. He restarted in 21st. In a matter of just a few laps, Larson had climbed back into the top 5.
Laps later, Kyle Larson was fighting a vibration. The crew finally diagnosed that issue. A brake duct had fallen in-between the wheel. Once that was removed, the vibration went away and Larson began his battle in the top 3.
Bob Pockrass: Were you upset and did any damage impact your race?
“No. I don’t really feel like any damage impacted us because we were able to drive to the front, right after that.”
“I was pretty amp’d up on the radio there. Just cause, at the time, I felt like maybe he let his frustration build and kinda just ran into me down the back-stretch and wrecked himself.”
“I thought he would be mad at me, or something like that. Which, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong at the time. A couple minutes later, they let me know that he was taking the blame for it on the radio.”
“Which was nice and I was able to chill out some. I respect Kevin a lot and I think he respects me too. You never want to see anything like that happen.”
Kyle Larson finished 2nd as Martin Truex Jr drove away from the field.
Related: Auto Club Speedway – Results