‘I wish I could have that restart back’ – Larson’s Iowa regrets

Kyle Larson has yet to examine the video of the contact with Daniel Suarez that took him out of contention Sunday night at Iowa Speedway but he knows one thing:

“I wish I could have that restart back,” Larson said.

His No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was the class of the field through the first two stages of the inaugural Cup Series race at Iowa, but one lap after the restart to begin the third stage — lap 220 — Larson’s wrecked car sat facing the wrong way down the frontstretch when Suarez got into his left-rear quarter panel off Turn 4.


The incident collected Denny Hamlin, whom Larson collided with after being hit by Suarez. It was the end result of a three-wide battle with Suarez on the bottom, Larson in the middle, and Brad Keselowski running on the outside.


“I haven’t seen a replay yet, but I guess I could have just not gone to the middle and been more patient with how fast my car was and knowing who I was around,” Larson said. “I wanted to get as many cars as I could in the beginning of that little run, and it probably ended up biting me.”

Larson felt like he had room to make it three-wide. He restarted sixth and the crash happened with Keselowski, Larson and Suarez battling for the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions.

“We made it until, I don’t know, the exit of the corner, and then I’m not sure if Suarez got loose underneath me or what happened,” Larson said. “He got into my left rear and got me out of control.”

Suarez didn’t deny that he made contact with Larson, but the Trackhouse driver, who watched a replay of the contact after climbing from his car on pit road after the race, felt it was a matter of being caught off guard by where his competition was running.

“Honestly, during the race, I was so confused,” Suarez said. “I didn’t know exactly what happened; I didn’t know if I went up or he (Larson) came down. I just saw the replay for the very first time, and I noticed the No. 6 (Keselowski) was the one on the outside [and] he had like a quarter of the car from the wall because he was trying to pinch down the No. 5 (Larson). Then [the No. 5] had another quarter of a car to the No. 6 trying to pinch me down, and I was expecting those two guys to be closer to the wall like everyone else.

“I’m the one who made contact with the No. 5…but I feel like they were lower than what I was expecting.”

Suarez finished ninth and Keselowski wound up 10th. The damage resulted in work on pit road for Larson’s team and then a trip to the garage for more extensive repairs. He finished 36 laps down in 34th position.

“If I could see a replay, I would tell you what went wrong, if it was my fault or what,” Larson said. “Obviously, if I don’t go three wide there, there’s probably no crash, but I’m probably running sixth in Turn 1. Either way, sixth is better than crashed, so I don’t know.

“I think I should have been more aware of who I was around. Suarez is really aggressive, and he was probably just pushing and got loose, I’m guessing, underneath me.”

Before the crash, the No. 5 had led 80 of the first 214 laps, also collecting his eighth stage win of the season. He won the second stage after coming from the 33rd position, having pitted under a lap 80 caution suspecting a tire issue. The race restarted on lap 87, and Larson was inside the top 10 by lap 105.

He took the lead to win the stage on lap 189. Of no surprise, Larson felt his team missed out on another potential victory.

“It’s hard to say how the rest of the race is going to play out, but I think, no doubt, I run top four,” he said. “I felt like by far we had the best car, so yeah, I feel like that one got away from us.”

Story originally appeared on Racer