Not even traction compound could keep Kyle Larson from hitting the wall in Saturday’s practice for the Gander RV 400. The 26-year-old will be using a back up car for the second consecutive week. Larson crashed in a practice at New Hampshire last Saturday. He also had two crashes in the final lap at New Hampshire and finished 33rd.
This incident happened a little over 10 minutes in Saturday’s practice. Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet hit two walls after he lost control in Turn 2 on the 2.5-mile track dubbed the Tricky Triangle.
After the crash, Larson told NBC sports that he was frustrated at his mistake.
“I’m fine, just disappointed in myself,” Larson said. “It’s two weeks in a row I’ve put my team in a bad spot. I hate that I did that. Just got really loose and overcorrected. Just mad at myself, especially after doing it two weeks in a row. Just got to stop being stupid.”
Larson is at 20/1 to win on Sunday, well below 5/2 favorite Kyle Busch.
Elliott Crashes Also
Chase Elliott, who is at 16/1 to win, also will be in his back up car after he crashed about a half-hour after Larson. The 23-year-old hit the wall in Turn 1 with about 20 minutes remaining in the practice session.
Elliott immediately took responsibility for the accident.
“Made a mistake and crashed,” Elliott said. “I put myself in a pretty poor situation there for practice. I apologize to my guys here and the people back at the shop. That’s what you get when you make dumb decisions … You shouldn’t make decisions like that to put yourself in a bad spot. Really my fault. We’ll try to get this other car going as soon as we can and try not to crash again.”
Compound Changing Race Strategy
When Pocono announced they were adding track compound to the layout, drivers were agreeable that it should make for a better race. In the first go around at Pocono there was hardly any passing, and Kyle Busch won easily. Though Busch is favored again for Sunday, it shouldn’t be as easy of a race.
Aric Almirola finished 10th in June at Pocono, and said it will be much more competitive.
“They’re putting down some of the traction compound on all three corners and that’s going to change the racing, for sure,” Almirola said. “We’ve seen it change the dynamic at many of the other tracks. I think that will be interesting and it will put on a great race. The restarts are already wild and crazy and now, with the outer groove being more of an option, that is really going to open up a lot of opportunities on restarts and being able to run side by side.”
Busch isn’t overly concerned, however. He has won three of the last four times there, including the last two.
“Trying to pass people is the trickiest part because it’s so finicky there after getting your car set-up to run by yourself in practice, but also getting it good for the traffic during the race and being able to out-corner guys out there,’’ Busch said. “Having a lot of horsepower is important there, as well. Hoping we can have all of those things go right for us this week.”