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Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain have become a major storyline in recent weeks, with the Trackhouse Racing driver initiating accidents that have ruined the No. 5 team’s day three times in the last four races. On Sunday at Darlington Raceway, it happened again.

Interestingly, the day before and after the 2021 Cup Series champion had won the Xfinity Series race, his Victory Lane celebration was sparsely attended. According to a report, the reason for the small audience is his Kaulig Racing pit crew, which also serves as Chastain’s pit crew in the Cup Series, opted out of joining the celebration in protest to what the Hendrick Motorsports driver had done a few weeks before. 

Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain involved in multiple accidents in 2023

After Talladega, everyone was talking about the violent crash between Kyle Larson and Ryan Preece. The focus was understandably on the damage to the HMS car and the frightening in-car footage from the Stewart-Haas Racing car. All of it resulted from a crash that Chastain started with a move at the front of the pack on a late restart.

Fast forward a week later to Dover. In the first stage, the watermelon farmer got into the rear of Brennan Poole, who went up the track into the wall and collected the No. 5 car. Two weeks. Two incidents.

After steering clear of the No. 1 at Kansas, Larson and Chastain reconnected on Sunday at Darlington, in a late restart when the Trackhouse car attempted to squeeze the HMS car but miscalculated and got turned into the outside fence instead, collecting the 2021 champ in the process. 

Larson wins race and pit crew doesn’t show up

Larson didn’t express his irritation with the situation after Sunday’s latest incident, as he avoided talking to reporters after the race. According to the Couch Racer Twitter account, which is operated by several spotters who also work on the Door Bumper Clear podcast, the HMS driver didn’t attempt to hide his frustration a few weeks earlier at Dover when he reportedly offered a hand gesture to the No. 1 team following that Stage 1 incident.

That made things interesting on Saturday at Darlington because Chastain’s Cup pit crew pulled double duty and served as the Xfinity pit crew for the No. 10 Kaulig Racing car, which Larson drove to his first-ever victory at the track Too Tough to Tame. 

According to the tweet, Larson’s pit crew members didn’t show up in Victory Lane out of protest to what had happened several weeks earlier.

“Why is victory lane so empty?” the tweet asked. “The 10 Xfinity Pit Crew is also the 1 Cup pit crew. Apparently Larson gave them a hand gesture after the incident in Dover. So they boycotted coming to victory lane in Darlington. Disrespectful or loyal?”

Wants to race more Xfinity in future

Kyle Larson celebrates
Kyle Larson celebrates in Victory Lane after the running of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Shriners Children’s 200 on May 13, 2023, at Darlington Raceway. | Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Monday, Larson appeared as a guest on NASCAR Race Hub and talked about both races at Darlington, first addressing the wild finish on Saturday with John Hunter Nemechek.

“Good to be on the good side of a late finish like that after losing at Kansas the week before,” Larson said. “Thanks to Kaulig Racing. It was a fun weekend of racing with them. Hopefully, we can do some more in the future.”

In other words, Larson wasn’t bothered by the pit crew not showing up for the post-race celebration and would work with them again. Because, in the end, the final result on the track is all that matters, not who shows up in Victory Lane. 

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in NASCAR, including breaking stories you can’t find anywhere else, follow Kyle on YouTube and Twitter.


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