NASCAR: How Kyle Larson’s Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 Elimination Affected His Cup Standings

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

For any NASCAR driver, an early finish is a nightmare scenario come to life. In order to make it to the playoffs and make a name for yourself in the eyes of sponsors, gaining the maximum number of points each week is a must. Unfortunately for NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, luck has not been on his side this season.

In the Cup Series’ Daytona opener, things didn’t look great for Larson, who took a DNF and position 32 to end the race. After that, however, his luck began to turn. In the second and third race, the 2021 Cup Series champion took 1st and 2nd position, respectively.

Unfortunately, in the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at the Phoenix Raceway, the fourth race of the season, things took a turn for the worse once again. Larson took another DNF and 34th position. This weekend’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 marked the fifth race of the 2022 Cup Series season, which saw the talented but unlucky driver take yet another DNF and position 30 after an incident in the second stage.

Kyle Larson’s impressive 2nd and 3rd performances of the season put him in a comfortable position on the standings table. Because of the back-to-back early finishes, however, Larson has now dropped from 4th position to 12th, gaining only nine points in the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Talks Wreck With Kyle Larson

The wreck that caused Kyle Larson’s early finish in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 also put Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota Camry out of commission for the day. And, sadly for Denny Hamlin, he not only has to accept the early finish but the fact that the wreck was his doing.

When asked how the incident occurred in his post-race interview, Denny Hamlin said, “I was just pushing the No. 5 [Kyle Larson]. We had plenty of grip but the track gets light right off the [fourth turn] and I needed to let him go. I didn’t let him go.”

The incident left the Joe Gibbs Racing driver with a DNF and position 29 in the results. Unfortunately, Denny Hamlin doesn’t have the two strong finishes that Kyle Larson holds, and his rocky season has left him in 26th position in overall 2022 Cup Series standings.

That said, the 2022 season is far from over. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson still have plenty of time to make a comeback and add to their already impressive resumes.