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Larson Wins Kansas in Closest Finish In NASCAR History

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What’s Happening?

After a rain delay which lasted nearly three hours, the greatest drivers in the world took the green flag at Kansas Speedway. Throughout the race, no one car really dominated the day/night. In the first stage, the opening laps saw an intense battle between Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain. The two swapped the lead back and forth for several laps before being caught and passed by eventual stage winner, Denny Hamlin. The second stage was the story of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson but mistakes on pit road gave the advantage to RFK driver, Chris Buescher who took the stage.

In the beginning of the final stage, Kyle Larson as well as Kyle Busch showed great speed early on. However, playing pit strategy, Denny Hamlin and Chris Buescher stayed out to regain the track position they lost. As the laps wound down, it turned into a fuel mileage race, with the top 4 (Hamlin, Buescher, Busch, and Larson) all saving fuel. Because of this, Martin Truex Jr. who was good on fuel made a run for the lead and was on track to wrestle it away from Hamlin when the caution flew.

The race restarted under overtime rules. During pit stops, most drivers took 2 tires while Truex took 4, effectively knocking him out of contention. Upon the restart, Buescher rocketed out to the lead with Kyle Larson close behind. It became a game of cat and mouse from there. The two drivers searched which lane worked best and coming out of the final corner, Larson had a slight advantage over Buescher. But the RFK No. 17 rallied back on the inside. The two touched and raced to the line.

After the checkered flag was waived, we all waited in suspense because we honestly didn’t know who the winner was. The scoring pilon listed Buescher as the winner. However, upon replay, it was revealed that Kyle Larson by a literal hair beat the No. 17 to the line. Kyle Larson wins. The official margin of victory is 0.001.

You Need To Know:

  • This marks the second win of the year for Kyle Larson. With this trip to victory lane, Kyle Larson earns the most points of any driver today as well as a valuable 5 bonus points heading into the NASCAR Playoffs.
  • It has been a great year thus far for Kyle Larson. He is certainly on track to fight for the NASCAR regular season championship. In addition, Larson can now add to his resume that he has won the closest finish in NASCAR history at 0.001.
  • Fans were ecstatic over the finish, many of them in disbelief at what we just witnessed. Certainly, this race will be considered for Race of the Year honors in the hearts of many fans.

Congratulations to Kyle Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team who reign supreme at Kansas Speedway.

The Main Characters

THE CLOSEST FINISH IN NASCAR HISTORY was won by Kyle Larson! Here is a slowed-down view of the finish.

Even Larson didn’t know who won at the end of the race. He was, however, stoked for that awesome finish.

Around The Garage

In the first stage of the race, Denny Hamlin “beat your favorite driver”. He showed speed early on but as the track lights lit up and the sun went down, the No. 11 car started to fade.

A slow pit stop by the No. 5 crew saw Larson lose his lead. It wasn’t enough, however, to keep him from fighting back and nabbing the win.

With the mistake by the 5 crew on pit road, Chris Buescher assumed the lead and never looked back. He won the second stage without a meaningful challenger. He lost his lead, however, after issues on pit road during the stage break.

The first caution for cause in the race unfortunately involved 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson. The arguable GOAT of NASCAR was tagged from behind and went around, slamming hard into the outside wall. Other cars involved were Corey Lajoie and Austin Hill.

Jimmie started the race in the 19th position and ran consistently around 25th for much of the race, making it his best run since returning to NASCAR as an owner-driver. In the clip below, you can see Jimmie check up after seeing some tire smoke ahead. This led to a chain reaction which saw Johnson get tagged from behind by Corey Lajoie.

Jimmie was frustrated initially after the incident but, as he was being interviewed by Regan Smith, he called it “a hard racing incident”. You can watch his interview with Regan in the clip below.

7-Time Jimmie Johnson was the grand marshal for the race, filling in for the King Richard Petty.

From The Officials

It’s official! As posted by NASCAR on X, the margin of victory was 0.001 seconds.

In The Stands

@msodnc31 doesn’t like how Larson raced the 17 “dirty”. They consider Buescher’s clean racing to be what ultimately lost him the race. Hmm…

Blake Sterling truly loved this race…however, he claims that if Larson didn’t door slam the 17, Buescher would have won. Perhaps…

Yes, Zach Willis, it IS a great year to be a NASCAR fan!

Jonathon dogs on Larson for not “doing it clean”.

Leo complains that the finish line was crooked. A photo tweeted by RFK Racing could potentially back this up. In the end, I believe the win will stand.

From The Press Box

This is the photo in question which reveals that the finish line was different on the banking compared to the flat surface of the apron. Thanks to Joey Stone for tweeting the zoomed-in picture.

Conclusion

Round number 12 of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is officially in the books! That was a CRAZY finish, Daily Downforce readers! Our minds here at DDF are absolutely BLOWN! What do you make of this epic finish? I’m sure everyone feels bad for Chris Buescher but at least we were given this WICKED treat of a finish. Let us know your thoughts by commenting on all our social media posts! What do you make of the CLOSEST FINISH IN NASCAR HISTORY!?!?

That does it for our coverage of Kansas. Continue to drop by DailyDownforce.com throughout the week for all the latest news and discussions in the world of NASCAR. And be sure to tune back in next week as we gear up to take on Too Tough To Tame, Darlington Raceway.

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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