NASCAR: Kyle Larson Wins Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway

by Caitlin Berard

After two years away from the track due to pandemic-related restrictions, 36 racers lined up at the checkered line in the historic Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Only one, however, could out-maneuver the rest and snag first place in the WISE Power 400, the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series. And that driver was Kyle Larson!

With Daytona 500 winner, Austin Cindric, runner-up Bubba Wallace, and reigning champion of the Power 400, Alex Bowman, sharing the track, Kyle Larson had his work cut out for him. To make matters even more difficult, the NASCAR crew covered the track with a resin traction compound. This was done in an effort to mend the cracked and worn asphalt; however, it gave drivers the challenge of creating a fresh racing groove.

The race came down to Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, and Joey Logano. Until the final laps of the race, any one of them could’ve taken the gold. Then, with 3 laps to go, Daniel Suarez suddenly challenged Kyle Larson, taking first place.

Larson was only down for one lap, however, as he fought his way back to first with 2 laps left in the race. Austin Dillon attempted to overtake Larson but couldn’t make it past second and Kyle Larson charged over the checkered finish line in first with Dillon at his tail.

With Hollywood palms and the gorgeous San Gabriel Mountains in the background, Kyle Larson couldn’t have had a more picturesque scene for his celebrations. Though it appears the victory hasn’t quite sunk in for the driver, Kyle Larson says the win was “definitely wild.”

Tyler Reddick Suffers Crushing Defeat in WISE Power 400

Tyler Reddick showed incredible promise during today’s race. So much so that, in the final stage of the race, Reddick’s victory seemed a near-certainty. Despite telling his team, “It’s really hard to concentrate. Something is wrong with my seat. My left leg is asleep,” Reddick managed to take and maintain control of the race. It was in the last 50 laps, however, that a nightmare scenario occurred for the talented driver.

Just when the win seemed within his grasp, Tyler Reddick was slammed into the SAFER barrier by #24, William Byron, who appeared to have lost control of his car. Both Byron and Reddick were unable to continue the competition after the crash.

The crash happened so suddenly that Reddick was confused by the extent of the damage to his vehicle. He told his pit crew, “I didn’t hit the wall.” When they corrected the driver, he said, “Oh. “S—.” Better luck next time, Tyler Reddick!