After a good Cup Series result at yesterday’s Goodyear 400, Kyle Larson looked back at his race and admitted regretting not having jumped on the overtaking opportunity on race leader Martin Truex Jr. when it was there.
Yesterday, Truex Jr. seemed to dominate the race at Darlington, leading more than 250 laps in the event. Nonetheless, in the last few miles of the race, the hunting group composed of Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch started to catch up on the race leader.
At some point, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver of the number 19 car was leading the race by more than 15 seconds, before Larson put the turbo and caught his opponent, standing less than 1 second behind him at less than 30 laps prior to the checkered flag.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver admitted being torn between two decisions as his race engineer was warning him of the tire degradation and wanted his driver to stay as patient as possible, considering that Truex was starting to slide and show weaknesses.
On the other hand, the lead of the race seemed so close and reachable that it felt frustrating for Larson not to try anything to save some rubber.
In the end, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver seized the win as Larson crossed the finish line in the second position. The driver of the number 5 car admitted after the race that he was too patient and regretted not having jumped on the overtaking opportunity while it was there.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s hard. I had already planned on [attacking Truex Jr.] when we closed a bunch throughout the green flag cycle, that final one, and I could see that I was really close and noticed that I was gaining on him, I definitely had to tell myself to just calm myself,” Larson admitted after the race.
“But in a way, I maybe was too patient at one point.”
“I got to his back bumper in 1 and 2 and I could see he was struggling in front of me, and I thought, well, if I am just patient here and stay behind him and put some pressure on him, maybe he’ll use his stuff up or get into the wall in 3 and 4 because he was running so close to it.”
“So I was just hoping that he would make a mistake.”
“Looking back if there was something I could do different I would have taken advantage of that opportunity and tried to get to his inside and maybe tried to clear him off of two and maybe block him in my dirty air the rest of the race.”
“Like I said, I could see he was struggling and I wanted to be patient and figured I’d have another opportunity, but I never really did.”