NASCAR: Pole-Sitter Kyle Larson Exits Early, Out for Remainder of Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

by Nick Geddes

Kyle Larson’s day in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway has come to an early end.

The pole-sitter departed to the garage on Lap 15 with an engine issue. He was dropping back in the field, with smoke coming out of the right side of his No. 5 car.

It won’t be back-to-back for Kyle Larson, who out-dueled teammate and points leader Chase Elliott last weekend at Watkins Glen. He entered Sunday’s regular season finale second in the points standings, which surely won’t stick by the time the race concludes. That’s fine by Larson, who said afterwards the positive is that he didn’t get caught up in “the big one.”

“I guess it’s a timing belt or something like that,” Larson told NBC. “I didn’t have much of an indication. Bummer. I’m sure we’ll drop a few spots in the points. I guess there’s one positive. I didn’t get caught up in a crash.”

Others Take Advantage of Kyle Larson Going to the Garage

The 35-Lap Stage 1 concluded with Joey Logano out in front. Shortly before the end, however, a multi-car wreck ensued, taking out a few big names. Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney were in the middle of it — the latter suffering damage to the right front of his car.

Blaney, winless on the season, is looking to secure his spot into the playoffs. His 25-point lead on Martin Truex Jr. has dwindled down to 19.