Kyle Larson Wins In Darlington As John Hunter Nemechek Crashes Coming To Finish

Kyle Larson Wins In Darlington As John Hunter Nemechek Crashes Coming To Finish

by May 13, 2023 1 comment

DARLINGTON, S.C. – In a thrilling finish to the Shriners Children’s 200 at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Larson bounced off the wall and won the race, while John Hunter Nemechek crashed coming to the checkered flag.

Nemechek and Larson had been the class of the field all day. Larson won Stage 1 and Nemechek won Stage 2. A late-race restart set the field up for a dash to the finish with less than seven laps to go. On the final lap of the race, Nemechek was in command until Larson chased him down and pulled alongside as they traveled down the backstretch for the final time. The two drivers made contact entering Turn 3, and then they both went into the wall in Turn 4. At the exit of Turn 4, Larson bounced off the wall and into Nemechek who went spinning into the inside wall on the frontstretch. The win marked Larson’s first Darlington victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,

“We ran really tight to each other into (Turn) 3,” Larson said. “We just barely touched into 3, and it kind of got us both out of shape and got me clear in front of him. I touched him, and then he got in behind me and turned my car, so now I’m sliding into the wall. I didn’t want to wall ride or nothing like that because I didn’t want to get a penalty or anything, so we hit the wall and came off of it. I was just watching in my little mirror seeing where he’s at and trying to chase away from him a little bit; keep my foot in it. Hit the wall there late exit about the same time he was getting to me, so just a wild, crazy finish, and hopefully the fans all enjoyed it.”

Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and Austin Hill eked by to finish second, third and fourth respectively.

Despite crashing just shy of the finish line and settling for a fifth-place finish, Nemechek wasn’t upset with how the race ended. The finish is Nemechek’s second consecutive top-five finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Following the checkered flag, Nemechek commended Larson for his driving talent.

“Had a really fast race car and battling with one of the best in the sport in my opinion, Kyle Larson,” Nemechek said. “It was a really great day. We will continue to work hard and continue to bring fast cars to the race track. Just disappointed a little bit from the standpoint of how that ended up there. Overall, we gave it a shot and still had a shot to win off of turn four. Fast car, top-five to show for it when it probably should have been victory lane or second. Hats off to all the guys at Toyota, TRD, Pye Barker Fire and Safety for what they do and this opportunity at Joe Gibbs Racing. We will win a lot more races, I guarantee you that.”

In only his second series start, Carson Hocevar finished sixth, followed by Josh Berry, Sam Mayer, Kaz Grala and Corey Heim.

There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers on Friday afternoon. Nemechek led a race high of 57 laps, and Larson led a total of 46. Throughout the race, the caution flew on 10 occasions for 51 laps. The largest crash of the day came on Lap 68, when at least 11 cars crashed exiting Turn 4. Richard Childress Racing drivers, Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill spun in front of the field, and with nowhere to go, everyone piled in.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco Uniforms 300 on Saturday, May 27. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on FS1 at 1 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/

1 Comment so far

Jump into a conversation