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Kyle Larson 'Just Thankful That I'm Alright' As He Reflects On Horrific Wreck At Talladega
The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion miraculously survived after he sustained a violent impact from Ryan Preece’s vehicle.
Historically speaking, crashes at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama are nothing new. They’re about as baked into its DNA as the four tires and a steering wheel are for the sport of stock car racing itself.
There was the gut-wrenching mayhem that occurred on the 10th lap of the 188-lap Winston 500 on May 6, 1973. Dubbed the Big One, smoke-spewing cars spun like drunken ballerinas, leaving a wake of mangled metal. Injuries abound, but Wendell Scott of Virginia endured the worst, breaking his pelvis along with multiple ribs — a physical toll that would ultimately end the trailblazing wheelman’s racing career.
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And just this past weekend, one of NASCAR's brightest stars, Kyle Larson, narrowly avoided what could have been a tragic chapter to the iconic track's history.
How did Kyle Larson wreck at Talladega?
Known for his aggressive driving style, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain sat in third place behind Noah Gragson. Gragson, driving for Legacy Motor Club, drifted, and Chastain tried to exploit the new opening. Instead of conceding the positioning, Gragson attempted to hold his ground. The maneuver backfired, and his wobbly car veered around, clipping Chastain in the No. 1. Gragson lost control of the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro and hit the wall. Meanwhile, Larson in the No. 5 Camaro spun down into the infield before veering back around perpendicular to the other cars in the middle of the pack. That’s where Ryan Preece’s No. 41 Ford Mustang collided head-on into his passenger side.
What did Kyle Larson have to say about his wreck at Talladega?
Though he miraculously survived the crash unscathed, the wreck completely destroyed Larson’s vehicle, crunching his passenger-side door inwards while twisting up a door bar in a violent contortion. Speaking to reporters after the harrowing incident, Larson acknowledged the severity of the impact and how dangerous things could’ve been, saying, “I’m really lucky nothing got me inside the car.”
"Thankfully, I'm okay," Larson revealed, according to Motorsport.com. "My car is absolutely destroyed. The cockpit is a mess. Just thankful that I'm alright and all that, but just a bummer. We put ourselves in position once again on a superspeedway, and the end results don't show it. Another wreck not of my doing on a superspeedway. Just hate it, but we'll keep getting better and eventually, it'll have to work out.”
What did Ryan Preece say about his wreck with Kyle Larson at Talladega?
Both Larson and Preece were thoroughly examined and then given the green light to be released from the infield car center. In Preece’s dash camera footage, you can clearly see the impact knocking his helmet visor back. Speaking about the wreck, Preece said it was “definitely one of the hardest hits I’ve ever taken in my racing career.”
"That was P1 for hits I've ever taken in my life," Preece told reporters. "I feel like when I wreck, I'm pretty tough and usually not a lot of stuff you think, 'Man, that hurt.' Definitely P1 on the hit list.”
Preece also detailed what he saw happen to Larson from his perspective.
“I took a glance at the five [Larson] from where I hit him, and it looked like it killed the center section on his car.”
While he also luckily managed to not sustain any injuries, Preece painted a visceral picture of what his body felt like during the collision.
“Picture someone throwing you on the ground as hard as you can, though. You know, I mean, it doesn't feel good."
What will happen to Kyle Larson’s car?
As part of NASCAR’s standard operating procedures for situations such as these, the league will transport the 30-year-old’s compromised car back to its research and development center based in North Carolina. There, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevy Camaro ZL1 will undergo rigorous inspection to further address what problems occurred. By examining various on-board systems and digital measurements through the car’s crash data recorder, the idea is to collect as much information as possible that could potentially shed light on any underlying issues and ultimately help engineers make improvements where appropriate in the Cup Series’ Next Gen car.
At the end of the day, Larson’s terrifying impact with Preece is a reminder for fans and drivers alike who may have doubted just how brutal the fabled superspeedway can be.
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