Following a mishap during Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series practice for the Bank of America Roval 400 on the road course located within the confines of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson is facing an uphill battle going into Sunday’s race. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will enter that event just 15 points above the cutline in a race that will serve as a cutoff for the ‘Round of 12’ in the NASCAR Playoffs.
But this will not be the first time this driver and team have faced trouble on the Charlotte Roval.
The damage suffered by the primary car as a result of the practice session wall contact will cause the Cliff Daniels-led crew to retrieve a backup car from their nearby shop. Also, Larson was not allowed to qualify on Saturday which means he will have to start from the tail of the field on Sunday. Further, team members will have to do extra work to ready the second machine.
“I just got loose entering eight and overcorrected and plugged the right front into the wall,” Larson told the USA network following the accident. “It’s a mistake. I hate that we’re at home and the guys have got to work on stuff on a Saturday when they should be spending it with their families. I’m upset at myself but I know I have a great team so I’m able to hopefully overcome it and have a good day.”
Although he accepted responsibility for the crash, the 31-year-old driver from Elk Grove, California added that the track surface proved to be tricky.
“The track just feels like it has not very much grip right now but I should have been more patient with things in practice.”
In a way, this is a reminder of when the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion faced adversity at the Charlotte Roval. During this same race in his championship winning season, electrical gremlins threatened to eliminate him from the Playoff hunt.
During a mid-race pit stop on that day, the crew had to change the battery to keep the car running. Later, the team was able to repair an alternator belt while keeping their driver on the lead lap. The No. 5 restarted on lap 54 from the 36th position, but after effective driving and pit strategy, he would go on to take the checkered flag ahead of the pack. Ultimately, that win kept Larson alive in the Playoffs which then allowed him to go on the earn the title in the finale at Phoenix.
Overcoming a difficult situation at this track is not something unfamiliar for this team, but at the same time, it has to be remembered that this is the track where Larson was eliminated from championship contention in 2022.
The Bank of America Roval 400 will be aired by NBC at 2:30 on Sunday.
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