For the past few weeks, there has been much talk amongst fans and analysts on when Kyle Larson will win his first race of 2023. In Las Vegas, he was leading with three laps to go when a caution came out. This set up an overtime restart, and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, William Byron, came out on top. The next week in Phoenix, Larson had the dominant car. But once again, William Byron came out on top in an overtime restart. It was easy to tell that not winning these two races got under Larson’s skin, but the competitiveness of Kyle Larson would not go away no matter how tough things would get.
Larson Earns His First 2023 Victory:
Over the past few years, Richmond has been known for not having great racing. Richmond has lost its touch since the early 2000s. For the days leading up to Richmond, all the talk was about how the new Aero Package would work. And it worked brilliantly. Larson would lead a good portion of stage two but would fall back after contact on pit road with Daniel Suarez. Larson thought his day was over, but thanks to a late caution in the final stage, it gave him the chance he was hoping for. His pit crew got him out first off of pit road on the final pit stop. Larson’s biggest competition, Martin Truex Jr, had scuffed tires on. It may have taken a few restarts, but Larson finally broke through the victory lane with his teammate, Josh Berry right behind him.
This was Larson’s second win at Richmond and his 20th career victory. This win came at the right time for Larson. After a few rough weeks from Las Vegas to COTA, this was great timing for a win for Larson. This win could also be a huge confidence booster going into Bristol this coming weekend. The timing of this win was also very special for the entire Hendrick family.
How Special is this win for the Hendrick Family?
On October 24th, 2004, a plane carrying eight passengers, crashed into a Virginia mountainside that was en route to Martinsville that day. There were several members among the Hendrick family that day, including Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky. There were no survivors of the crash, including the two pilots. Ricky was more known for his ownership role alongside his father. He was the man who gave Brian Vickers his shot in NASCAR. When it was announced that Hendrickcars.com would be the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson, they would also bring back the same paint scheme that Ricky Hendrick ran in his Truck and Busch Series career. This past Sunday would have been Ricky Hendrick’s 43rd birthday. This win is very special for the entire Hendrick organization. It is very poetic that Kyle Larson won in Ricky Hendrick’s paint scheme on his birthday.
What to expect from Bristol:
This coming week the Truck Series and Cup Series are going to Bristol… on dirt. The Bristol dirt race debuted in 2021 and was not a hit amongst fans due to the track being improperly prepared. For the 2022 race, the racing was better and that was due to the track being prepared properly. It would not be a shock to see a dirt racing expert at the front of the field. Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Alex Bowman would be safe picks for this event. Ricky Stenhouse Jr as well as Daniel Suarez could be a couple of dark horse picks for this event. It will be an interesting event once again, especially since this race is on Easter Sunday at night.
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