The Cup Series champion drove 32 laps in the GIECO 500 and was sitting in second after the fourth turn on the last lap. But he advanced high into the tri-oval to try to take the lead, causing his car to lose momentum and pushing the #45 Kurt Bosch Toyota into the wall in the process.
Larson finished the race fourth – still his best Talladega finish in nine seasons of cup competition.
“I feel like I did a near perfect run for me at breakneck speed until the last lap there,” Larson said. “I think I kinda fake when I go up high, and then come back down low. I did. Ross (Chastine) helped me with that run. It kind of prompted me to go abroad.Maybe there is a little experience there.
“But I’m really proud of my team. We did a great job doing all the long races. The car was great. I felt we could push people really well. I felt like we could get paid really well. Yeah, like I said, really proud with them.”
It may come as a surprise that Larson has yet to win by leaps and bounds. Arguably the best driver on the track at the moment, he has won everything from short tracks to medium tracks to road courses.
However, NASCAR’s two biggest tracks – Talladega and Daytona – have always been kryptonite. In fact, Larson has only one win at breakout speed in any form of competition to his name – coming up at the Xfinity Series at Daytona in 2018.
But despite his poor performances in the past on the big tracks, Larson still thinks his super speed skills are getting better.
He said, “Honestly, (this) is the first time I’ve ever had a real chance to win a plate race in a Cup Series. I’m happy with that. When you’re close, I was at the same time the position I wanted to be, I didn’t want to drive. Good job with patience and stuff. I made a small mistake there and it cost me the win.”
Larson will have two more chances to win at breakout speed this season as the Cup series makes another visit to Daytona and Talladega in August and October respectively.
And if past performance means anything, Larson will likely start another hot streak in the next few months. The Cup series will make visits to Texas for the NASCAR and Charlotte Cup All-Star Race for Coca-Cola 600 next month and then head to Sonoma and Nashville in June. Larson is the defender of all four events.