Kyle Larson took the lead over Alex Bowman late at Pocono Raceway and appeared to be cruising to his fourth straight NASCAR Cup Series win as he kept the lead going into the final turn of the race.
But the “Tricky Triangle” had another wild finish in store during Saturday’s Pocono Organics CBD 325. With the win in sight, the left front tire on Larson’s No. 5 car went flat and took him out. Bowman, his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, cruised back in front and won the race. Larson finished ninth.
Larson will race in a backup car and drop to the rear of the field for the second race at Pocono this weekend, the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 on Sunday.
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“I guess disbelief still. I don’t know, a little bit laughable just because I can’t believe it,” Larson said after the race. “Hate that we didn’t get another win, would’ve been cool to win five in a row, but just wasn’t meant to be, I guess, today.
“I felt something right in the middle of the tunnel (turn) and wasn’t quite sure what it was yet and then it finally, you know, kind of shredded halfway through the little short chute there and couldn’t turn.
“We’ll try and start another streak tomorrow.”
Larson was coming off three straight Cup Series wins and four in a row counting the NASCAR All-Star Race. He won the Coca-Cola 600, Toyota Save Mart 350 and Ally 400 in succession to move into the series lead with four wins this season.
He was looking to become only the eighth driver to win four straight races in the modern era of NASCAR, along with Carl Yarborough in 1976, Darrell Waltrip in 1981, Dale Earnhardt in 1987, Harry Gant in 1991, Bill Elliott in 1992, Mark Martin in 1993, Jeff Gordon in 1998 and Jimmie Johnson in 2007, according to NASCAR. Yarborough, Waltrip, Earnhardt, Gordon and Johnson went on to win the series championship in those years.