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Kyle Larson violently slammed into Ty Dillon in last week’s race at Indianapolis. Initially, everyone thought it was some type of mechanical failure. A day later, Hendrick Motorsports said it was not. 

Instead, HMS officials indicated that the reigning Cup Series champion had made a mistake. This weekend at Michigan the 30-year-old met with reporters and talked about what happened, and owned responsibility for the “scary” and “embarrassing” blunder. 

Kyle Larson slams into Ty Dillon at Indianapolis

On his 30th birthday last Sunday, Kyle Larson ran a race at Indianapolis that he’d just as soon forget. After getting hit by Aric Almirola midway through the second stage and spending a lengthy time on pit road for repairs, the HMS driver’s goals changed. Being laps down, he just wanted to finish the race and avoid his fifth DNF of the season.

It didn’t happen. With 21 laps remaining, the No. 5 carried a lot of speed down the long straightaway across the start-finish line, got out of control going into Turn 1, and slammed into the right side of the No. 42 of Ty Dillon, immediately spinning the blue HMS car with its momentum carrying it into the infield grass.

For the next several minutes, the NBC announcers tried to assess what had just happened. After listening to communication between Larson and crew chief Cliff Daniels before and after the accident, most assumed it was a mechanical failure.  

The next day, Fox’s Bob Pockrass tweeted that HMS had ruled out mechanical problems as the source of the crash.

“Checked with Hendrick Motorsports and they didn’t see any sign of brake failure in the Larson car following the wreck,” Pockrass wrote. 

Kyle Larson addresses crash

On Saturday, Larson visited with reporters at Michigan International Speedway. Unsurprisingly, that was the main question directed at the champion.

“I made a big mistake. I got in there deep,” Larson admitted. “I got out of shape, and I was hoping that by the time I got it under control, they would be out of the way, and I could go straight before they turned into the corner. And once I realized that I was going to hit the 47, I just tried to do what I could to turn right and miss both of them. Obviously, that didn’t happen. 

“Embarrassing and feel really bad about wiping Ty out. Just very thankful that him and I were both safe and didn’t get seriously injured because it was scary for both of us. Hate that that happened and just try not to make any mistakes like that going forward.”

Made his share of mistakes this season

Kyle Larson at Indianapolis
Kyle Larson drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2022. | Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

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While many fans find it hard to believe that a driver the caliber of Kyle Larson could make such an egregious mistake, a look back at the 2022 campaign confirms that this year has been considerably different from last and the California native has made several other head-scratching moves. 

Early in the season at Fontana, he made what appeared to be a block late in the race and ran teammate Chase Elliott into the wall. Larson placed blame on his spotter after the race, which he won.

A couple of months later at Talladega, Larson was again in contention late when he made an abrupt move up the track on the final lap to get around race leader Erik Jones but miscalculated and didn’t see Kurt Busch on his outside, which resulted in the No. 5 initiating contact, and sending the No. 45 for a hard hit into the wall. 

Larson has proven throughout his career, highlighted by last year’s championship, that he’s one of the best drivers in the world. Although he’s one of the best, he’s still human. He’s proven that multiple times this season. Last Sunday at Indy was the latest, most violent example.

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