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Kyle Larson Dominates at Homestead; What to expect from Martinsville

Photo: Washingtontimes.com

The stars of the NASCAR cup series rolled into south Florida this past weekend to take on the Homestead-Miami speedway. Homestead is known for drivers running high against the wall and crazy restarts. This race was the second race of the Round of 8. It did not disappoint; fans were very appreciative of the show the drivers put on.

Larson Domination;

Kyle Larson is a man with a ton of talent. Last year’s cup series champion was unfortunately eliminated from the playoffs at Charlotte two weeks ago. After his elimination from the playoffs, Larson admitted that he made too many mistakes throughout the season. This past Sunday, Larson put on a dominating performance that had him look like his championship self again after leading 199 of the 267 laps. Larson has always been a favorite pick for Homestead but has never been able to seal the deal. Larson had to overcome late race restarts to get back out in front and win at Homestead for the first time in his career. This is what Larson needed after the past two weeks. After being eliminated from the playoffs in Charlotte and after being involved in the incident with Bubba Wallace, this is what Larson needed to get his mojo back.

The 2021 cup series champion has had a very well below-average season. Larson has an average finish of 14.6, with 12 top-five finishes recorded. Larson has also recorded an unfathomable total of seven DNFs up to this point in the season. It was evident that Larson was not up to championship form early in the season despite a win in the first two races of the season. Looking back on the season, Larson very well could have won one or two more races throughout the year. Most notably, Larson was in a possible position to win his second Coca-Cola 600 this year, but a caution with two laps to go changed everything.  Some of his struggles throughout the year show how difficult the next-gen car is to drive. But this win for Larson has some controversy attached to it.

Miscues on pit road:

This win for Larson was somewhat overshadowed by some controversy on pit road. Coming down for the final pit stop under caution, Martin Truex Jr led the field down pit road followed by Larson. Truex would suddenly be spun into his pit box off the front nose of Larson. Replays of the incident show that Truex suddenly braked in front of Larson and that Truex did not pull down to his pit stall at the proper time. Truex’s car then spun around 180 degrees into his pit stall with his crew diving out of the way of the car. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the incident. Truex would rally back from this to finish in sixth place. Truex would later admit that the incident was partially his fault. Thankfully for Truex, this coming weekend’s race is at one of his best tracks.

What to expect from Martinsville:

Earlier in the spring at Martinsville, it was not the best race for the cup series. The Martinsville spring race exposed some of the flaws of the next-gen car, more specifically at the short tracks. Throughout the season, NASCAR has been making changes to the next-gen car in hopes of making the racing better for Martinsville. NASCAR has also conducted test sessions at Martinsville in hopes to see if the changes have worked. Multiple mechanics and officials have said that they expect the upcoming race this weekend to be better than the spring race. With all that said, it will be pure chaos at Martinsville. This is the last race before the championship race in Phoenix. Joey Logano is currently the only playoff driver who will not need to worry about Martinsville with his win in Las Vegas. Drivers will do anything to get into the championship four.

Current Playoff Standings;

1st. #22 Joey Logano (Advanced to the championship four)

2nd #1 Ross Chastain +19 above the cutline.

3rd. #9 Chase Elliott +11 above the cutline.

4th. #24 William Byron +5 above the cutline.

5th #11 Denny Hamlin -5 below the cutline

6th. #12 Ryan Blaney -18 below the cutline

7th. #20 Christopher Bell -33 below the cutline

8th. #44 Chase Briscoe -44 below the cutline

Current Playoff Standings;

1st. #22 Joey Logano (Advanced to the championship four)

2nd #1 Ross Chastain +19 above the cutline.

3rd. #9 Chase Elliott +11 above the cutline.

4th. #24 William Byron +5 above the cutline.

5th #11 Denny Hamlin -5 below the cutline

6th. #12 Ryan Blaney -18 below the cutline

7th. #20 Christopher Bell -33 below the cutline

8th. #44 Chase Briscoe -44 below the cutline

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