Kyle Larson on Saturday blew his chance at a fourth straight victory. Literally.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver, looking for his fourth straight win in the NASCAR Cup Series — this one at the Pocono Organics CBD 325 — managed to overtake teammate Alex Bowman with just four laps remaining after tailing him the previous 15 laps. It seemed as if the final lap was a mere formality when, entering the final turn, Larson’s No. 5 car blew its front left tire, costing him the victory.
Below is the scene as it unfolded, with NBCSN’s broadcasters lauding Larson’s would-be accomplishment:
Bowman had the perfect response when asked postrace what he thought when he saw Larson’s tire blow:
“I hate to win that way, but hell, yeah, I’ll take it.”
Bowman collected the fifth win of his career and his third win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. His victory also gave Hendrick Motorsports a record 18th win at the track and its first there since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Pocono 400 in 2014.
The finish capped what was an eventful, caution-filled day at Pocono Raceway. Sporting News tracked updates and lap-by-lap highlights from the NASCAR race, the first of a weekend doubleheader. Check out the complete results from the Pocono Organics CBD 325 below:
NASCAR at Pocono live updates, highlights from Saturday race
All times Eastern
5:58 p.m.: Larson blew a tire. He’ll go to a backup car for Sunday’s race.
5:55 p.m.: Bowman, when asked what he thought when he saw Larson blow his tire: “I hate to win that way, but hell, yeah, I’ll take it.”
5:50 p.m.: OH MY GOODNESS. LARSON HAS A FLAT TIRE AND BOWMAN WINS ON THE LAST LAP!
5:49 p.m.: Last lap. Just a formality.
5:48 p.m.: Larson’s not losing this. His lead has ballooned to nearly a second. Only a tremendous disaster would cost him the win now.
5:47 p.m.: And now Larson takes over the lead with four remaining! What a battle between him and Bowman.
5:46 p.m.: Also, kudos to LaJoie for taking the inside and letting the leaders pass with no issue.
5:45 p.m.: Bowman and Larson are still your top two with just six laps remaining. This looks like it’s going to be a close finish.
5:37 p.m.: Bowman’s your leader with 15 laps remaining, but Larson’s right on his tail. And, as a reminder, both are Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
5:33 p.m.: Kyle Busch, Bowman, Larson, Blaney, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Byron, Reddick, Logano and Suarez make up your top 10 coming out of the caution with 19 laps to go.
5:25 p.m.: Caution 9 (Lap 108). Debris on the track.
5:21 p.m.: And now Hamlin pits.
5:19 p.m.: Lots of stuff going on right now. But Hamlin is the leader with 30 laps remaining after remaining on the track while the majority of the field pitted. He hasn’t pitted since Lap 54. Michael McDowell is roughly 17.5 seconds off the lead.
5:04 p.m.: Larson takes the lead over Kurt Busch on Lap 84, his first time leading since the race was still in the single digits on laps.
4:54 p.m.: Caution 8 (Lap 78). And there’s Stage 2 in the books, with Kurt Busch joining brother Kyle for the stage win. The top 10:
- Kurt Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Joey Logano
- William Byron
- Ryan Blaney
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Alex Bowman
- Kyle Busch
- Brad Keselowski
4:45 p.m.: Caution 6 (Lap 73). Now it’s Ross Chastain causing the caution. He spins and slides, but will be able to keep racing.
4:38 p.m.: Stenhouse has a restart violation.
4:33 p.m.: Actually, looks like LaJoie is on pit road trying to get his car race-ready.
4:29 p.m.: Caution 5 (Lap 60). There’s another crash. This time It’s Corey LaJoie and Anthony Alfredo involved. He has some damage, but he can drive off. Doubtful he returns but he can take it to the garage and get it ready for tomorrow. Looks like Alfredo has some damage as well.
4:28 pm.: Back at it on Lap 58 with 20 more to go in Stage 2. The Busch brothers are fighting for the top spot.
4:21 pm.: Caution 4 (Lap 53). Newman spins out into the wall, taking significant damage. Quin Houff took some damage trying to avoid him:
Newman spins on his own and smacks the outside wall. Houff found some gnarly bumps in the track surface down at the bottom of the track attempting to avoid Newman. #NASCAR
— Toby Christie (@Toby_Christie) June 26, 2021
4:13 p.m.: And now Chastain has taken the lead! Blaney is .905 seconds off the lead.
4 p.m.: Whew, that was a close one.
3:58 p.m.: Back to it. The next stage is 52 laps long. Logano, Kurt Busch, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Reddick, Bubba Wallace, Keselowsi, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Newman make up your top 10.
3:49 p.m.: Caution 3 (Lap 25). Kyle Busch is your Stage 1 winner. Belows the entire top 10:
- Kyle Busch
- William Byron
- Kyle Larson
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Denny Hamlin
- Kurt Busch
- Daniel Suarez
- Austin Dillon
- Tyler Reddick
3:42 p.m.: Back at it (again). Only eight laps to go in the stage.
3:36 p.m.: Looks like Custer tried to get to the outside line in front of Brad Keselowski, causing the latter to move inside; he clipped Custer’s car, causing him to spin out into the wall. Looks like Custer thought he’d stay in line. Keselowski on the radio said he was going to, but “changed his mind.”
3:35 p.m.: Caution 2 (Lap 14). Cole Custer got the worst of a pileup on the straightaway. His car suffered significant damage, but he gets out of the car no issue. He’s shaking his head, disappointed.
3:34 p.m.: They’re back at it starting with lap 13. Byron, Larson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick make up your top 10.
3:30 p.m.: Lots of cars pitting under caution. A common thread: A lot of the cars are handling “too loose.”
3:27 p.m.: Caution 1 (Lap 9). The caution’ out for debris on Turn 2. Unsure whose it is. Considering it came so close to the scheduled competition caution (Lap 12), drivers will be allowed to refuel on pit road.
3:24 p.m.: Meanwhile, William Byron has overtaken Larson for the lead. Not sure what’s going on with Larson’s car, but Byron overtook him easily on the inside as the former rode the wall.
3:24 p.m.: Some minor damage suffered early in the race by Chase Elliott, but the race is ongoing.
Chase Elliott has some damage to the left rear quarter panel. There was an accordion effect on the start and Ryan Preece had nowhere to go and got into the back of Chase.
— PRN (@PRNlive) June 26, 2021
3:19 p.m.: And they’re off!
2:53 p.m.: An interesting interview with Kyle Larson:
2:36 p.m.: Drivers signing autographs ahead of Saturday’s race:
2:26 p.m.: An excellent question.
NASCAR start time today
- Start time: 3 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBCSN (TSN3 in Canada)
- Live stream: NBCSports.com | fuboTV (7-day free trial)
The green flag on Saturday’s race will drop at 3:19 p.m. ET.
Rain could affect that time. The National Weather Service forecast for Long Pond, Pa., site of Pocono Raceway, calls for a slight chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms both days and high temperatures between 85 and 90. The chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
NASCAR starting lineup at Pocono
Here is the full starting lineup for Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway, the Pocono Organics CBD 325, without qualifying.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|4||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|5||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|6||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|7||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|8||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|9||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|10||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|11||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|12||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|13||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|14||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing Team|
|15||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|16||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|17||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|18||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|19||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|20||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|21||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|23||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|24||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|25||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|26||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|27||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|28||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|29||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|30||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|31||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|32||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|33||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|34||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|35||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|36||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|38||Timmy Hill||66||Motorsports Business Management|