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Everything You Need to Know About the Kyle Larson & Denny Hamlin Rivalry

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North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

What’s Happening?

On Sunday, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson once again ran into each other on the race track, and it’s not the first time this has happened. Denny Hamlin talked about the rising tensions between the two on his podcast “Actions Detrimental,” to which he said, “I’m in this for the long haul,” and later said about whether or not they can call it a rivalry, “Sure, if you want to call it that.” Here is the whole story of Denny Hamlin vs Kyle Larson.

  • Denny Hamlin vs. Kyle Larson dates back to 2023. The two drivers had a couple of late-race run-ins, and Hamlin came out on top in both.
  • This simmered even more at Nashville this past weekend. The two were once again battling for position, and they were towards the front on the final restart before disaster struck for the No. 5 car.
  • Fans are waiting impatiently to see how this rivalry ultimately unfolds. Will Larson or Hamlin get the last laugh?

Kansas 2023

Prior to 2023, both Larson and Hamlin did not have many run-ins with each other. Sure, they were in the Championship 4 together in 2021 and had a few small run-ins, but it never led to much beyond that race. That changed at Kansas in 2023 when the two battled for the win, making contact on the final lap that sent Larson into the wall and Hamlin to Victory Lane.

Larson wasn’t exceedingly mad after this race. Many chalked this up to good, hard racing, but it was the start of a new saga.

Pocono 2023

Larson and Hamlin lined up on the front row on a late restart at Pocono, and they stayed side-by-side through turn one. Hamlin pushed Larson up the track and into the outside wall, damaging Larson’s car. This time, the driver of the No. 5 was hot and showed his displeasure to Hamlin under caution.

After the race, Larson told the media that Hamlin did not race him respectfully. On “Actions Detrimental” later that week, Hamlin denied making contact with Larson, instead blaming the incident on putting Larson in a bad aerodynamic situation. Regardless, Hamlin walked away with the trophy.

New Hampshire

Kyle Larson’s emotions boiled over a bit at New Hampshire. Hamlin beat Larson a few weeks earlier by aero-blocking at Dover. The two came together again at New Hampshire as imminent rain ramped up the aggression level late in the race. Hamlin took second place after pushing Larson up the track off of the final turn, and Larson was not happy on the radio.

Larson’s spotter, Tyler Monn, chimed in, saying to Larson that the reason Hamlin races Larson that way is “Because you let it happen.” Larson responded, saying, “Shut the [expletive] up.”

Nashville 2024

Regardless of how happy Larson was to hear the message at New Hampshire, he wanted to even the score a Nashville, as Hamlin clearly had the upper hand in this rivalry. Larson sent a message by pushing Hamlin up the race track at the end of stage two, to which Hamlin gave Larson a small tap under caution.

In Overtime, Larson lined up third behind Hamlin, and the No. 5 pushed the No. 11 in turn one, trying to get him off the bottom. It did not go as planned as Larson shot up into an innocent Ross Chastain. That was it for this run-in, and neither driver came out on top as both ran short on fuel during Overtime.

This had previously been a pretty one-sided rivalry, with Hamlin often pushing Larson around a bit. However, Larson barked back at Nashville, and, according to Hamlin, it seems this hard racing will continue for a while.

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