Kyle Larson finished second for Chevrolet in Sunday night’s Bojangles’ 500 at Darlington Raceway, with the No. 42 Camaro unable to reel in the race-winning No. 20 Toyota Camry of Erik Jones in the race’s closing stage.
It was actually Monday morning by the time the checkered flag fell on the Darlington throwback race, with a lengthy four-hour rain delay pushing the race into early hours of the Labor Day holiday.
Larson looked to be in contention for the win after a massive wreck on Lap 275 collected multiple cars and a set up a restart on Lap 282. The No. 42 Chevy driver led the field to green for the late-race restart and held the position for a lap, but was unable to keep Jones behind him.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver then held the lead following a cycle of green flag pit stops with 40 laps to go, emerging ahead of a hard-charging Kyle Busch. Jones then held off “Rowdy” for the remaining laps, with the No. 18 Toyota driver pushing too hard and getting up into the wall two times in the final five laps. Busch actually cut a tire with the second hit, which allowed Larson to catch back up and take second, while Busch slotted into third position.
“When he started to inch out a little bit, I was trying to save my right front, because I knew my right front wasn’t going to make it the whole rest of the way without me knocking the wall down, and I was right,” Busch said post-race. “I hit the wall with about four to go and then I hit it again with three to go, and it killed it that time. Luckily, we were able to salvage a third, just dragging the fence for the last two laps.”
Larson congratulated Jones and acknowledged that even though he had a stronger car than the JGR driver, traffic and dirty air made it hard to close the gap.
“Erik did a good job on that last restart to get by me, and I was better than him all throughout that run,” Larson said. “It’s just I couldn’t ever do anything with him, just because the dirty air was really bad. Wore out surface and the groove is already narrow, and it was just extra difficult. I felt like both (Busch) and I were a little bit better than he was at the end, but couldn’t do nothing with him.”
Click here for full results from NASCAR Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington.