Kyle Larson said he was taken out following “payback”
On Sunday night, Bristol Motor Speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup Series. It’s the only dirt race on the 2023 schedule and Larson entered the event as a favorite to win.
On the opening lap, Larson led the race from the pole position. He then won stage 1 of the event.
Early in stage two, Larson and Ryan Preece were battling deeper in the field after Larson pitted from the lead for tires. He cleared himself on Preece off the corner but he wasn’t clear. Instead, Preece was shoved into the outside wall.
Under caution, Preece pulled alongside Larson and gave him the finger.
In stage three, Larson spun on his own. That sent him to the back of the field. And that’s when Preece was able to catch up with Larson.
The two drivers raced side by side once more. This time, with Larson on the outside, Preece cleared himself and shoved Larson into the outside wall.
After bouncing off the wall, it appeared that Larson turned left and chased Preece toward the apron as they entered the next corner.
Larson made contact with Preece’s right rear but Larson was the one who went around. He made hard contact with the outside wall and Larson was forced to pull it to the garage and call it a night.
Bristol Dirt Race Results: April 9, 2023 (NASCAR Cup Series)
Moments after the second contact, the #41 team discussed things on the radio:
The team stated over the radio, “He ran ya all the way down into the dirt trying to spin ya. I’d say that’s on purpose that he was trying to spin you, wouldn’t you.”
“When it happened the other way around, we didn’t do that.”
“Denny Hamlin got a penalty for wrecking somebody on purpose. So, he just thinks he’s better than everybody else and that everybody else should just pull over for him, evidently.”
“It’s eye-for-an-eye, ya know?”
Ryan Preece stated, “Game Over”
Kyle Larson comments
“It was a tight clear off turn four. I was looking in my mirror, it didn’t seem that he was to my outside yet.”
“Obviously, he had a pretty short temper. He tried to crash me, I think, after that. Then, he’s swerving at me under yellow.”
“I assumed that since it had been an hour and half since that happened … It wasn’t my fault that he ended up spun out. I thought that he would chill out. Obviously, he didn’t and he ran me in the fence.”
Larson added, “I guess he was paying me back for whatever I did earlier. He ran me straight in the fence.”
Larson detailed that he wasn’t trying to retaliate on the contact into turn one. It’s certainly worth noting that Denny Hamlin was recently fined $50,000 for admitting retaliation.
“My car was broke and ended up crashed. So, yeah. I should just be mad at myself for spinning out earlier and putting myself back there.”
Ryan Preece comments
Ryan Preece stated after the race, “I think you just get mad, getting run in the fence. From inside that race car you’re like, ‘Welp, I’m not going to lift.’ “
“When it comes to being run in the fence, if guys see you lifting when you’re at their right rear quarter, they’re just going to keep running you into the fence.”
“It’s really slick, when you’re not in the right spot,” Preece said of the second contact with Larson. He stated that he got loose and slid into Larson.