Darlington Raceway has been deemed ‘the track to tough to tame.’ This mantra applies during races as well as practices. Prior to Saturday’s Bojangles’ 500 (which was won by Kevin Harvick) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson were both involved in separate practice incidents. During practice both rookies put a Darlington Stripe on their cars, Larson was actually forced to a backup car as a result.
After practice Dillon commented on hitting the wall and sharing his experience with Larson.
Well, Kyle (Larson) came over and asked, ‘where did you hit’? I said off Turn two. He said, me too. I said did you try you try to come off the wall and make it turn? He said exact same thing. So we are just learning, I guess. You get really tight. I felt good into (Turn) one, and then through the middle, I get tight late around the corner, it just carries speed. Just hit the wall, but I learned a lot right there. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
Through a press release from Team Chevy Larson also shared his thoughts on the incident and his conversation with fellow rookie Dillon.
Yeah I mean we (Austin Dillon) were talking and it sounded like the exact same thing that we were describing. Difference is I have to get a back-up out. Our back-up they said is just as good as our primary so we had a really good run before we I hit the wall. Just learning, I’m mostly never in the wall in (Turns) three and four and never hit off (Turn) two. I killed the wall in (Turn) two. We will get back out here soon and I’m sure be fine.
Larson was right in saying that his No. 42 team would be fine. In fact, the No. 3 team of Dillon ended up being fine as well. When things were all said and done Saturday night, Larson finished 8th and Dillon finished 11th. These were especially strong finishes considering the fact that both drivers ran around the 20th position for the majority of the night. A top-10 was even more exciting for Larson because at one point he smacked the outside wall and was forced to pit to repair damages to the car.
As the 2014 season progresses, Dillon and Austin figure to be the ones fighting it out for NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Prior to the start of the season many were ready to appoint that crown to the top of Dillon’s head. Larson however has done a spectacular job through the first eight races and looks primed to challenge Dillon for the rest of the season. In each of the first eight races the highest finishing rookie has been either Dillon or Larson. After Darlington, Larson now has that honor five times and Dillon has it only three.
Sources: Team Chevy