Kyle Larson’s reputation has diminished dramatically despite signing a deal to drive a full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule with Turner Scott Motorsports. Larson is a development driver for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and has quickly proven that he’ll be someone to cope with in the future.
Apparently, Larson forgot that he was racing in a NASCAR Whelen All American Series race and not a Sprint Cup Series race. Larson intentionally wrecked C.E. Falk who was on his way to victory during the UNOH Battle at the Beach event on the Daytona International Speedway Super Stretch. Falk, who was slated to run a few races last season for the No. 33 Circle Sport Racing team which is owned by his father. However, that deal never came through as he is still attempting to climb through the NASCAR ranks.
Larson’s integrity will definitely not help him when he runs full-time this year in NASCAR’s second tier series. Not a single driver is going to take a move like that and let it go. If he’s going to be successful, he’s going to have to learn to race cleanly.
Originally, Larson first tapped Falk on his left rear quarter-panel as they were exiting turn three on the final lap which was a good move on Larson’s part. That’s how racing is usually done. However, the second move probably cost Larson plenty of fans in the future, even though most will probably forget about this race considering it’s a NASCAR Home Tracks event. The incident gained much attention from several drivers from NASCAR’s top three series as they felt as if his move was inappropriate and dirty.
After the race, Larson admitted that he never won a race in that fashion before and had symphony for Falk who led 61 laps before finishing third behind Larson and Ben Rhodes. Rhodes led a race high 87 laps and was right in between the chaos when the checkered flag flew.
Larson’s reputation is now tarnished, well at least for the time being. His move was utterly disrespectful and deserves the criticism which he’s been receiving from race fans and his peers. In reality, it’s nothing different than the Dale Earnhardt/Terry Labonte battles at Bristol back in the 1990′s, but this was just ridiculous considering the circumstances. Larson already has a full-time ride while Falk is attempting to break his way through into the sport.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.