Larson Comments on Newman's Move

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson called Ryan Newman's actions on the last lap of Sunday's race "a little upsetting" but says he thinks other drivers would have done something similar. (Photo: Getty Images)


Kyle Larson called Ryan Newman’s last-lap actions Sunday “a little upsetting” but said he understood Newman’s desperation and “can’t fault him for being aggressive there.’’

Needing to pass Larson to secure the final spot in the championship round, Newman dive-bombed the rookie on the last lap at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman’s car slid up the track and hit Larson’s car, sending it toward the wall. That allowed Newman by, giving him a shot at the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. By advancing, Newman eliminated Jeff Gordon from title contention.

"Coming to the finish, there were a lot of cars racing really hard,’’ Larson said in a statement provided to Motor Racing Network by Chip Ganassi Racing. “I knew (Newman) was right around me and knew he needed to gain some spots to keep from getting eliminated from the Chase.  

“It's a little upsetting he pushed me up to the wall, but I completely understand the situation he was in and can't fault him for being aggressive there. I think a lot of drivers out here would have done something similar if they were in that position."

Newman said after the race: “I wasn't proud of what I had to do, but I did it the best way that I possibly could.’’

Newman, who finished 11th, defended his actions, noting that Larson managed to finish, placing 13th.

“Kyle was right on (Marcos Ambrose’) rear bumper and when he went into Turn 3, I think he slipped just a little bit, and I just went down to the bottom no matter what,’’ Newman said. “I figured if I'm going to try this I'm going to try it and see if it works, and it worked.  

“I think if Kyle Larson was in my shoes, he'd have done the exact same thing. I didn't take him out. He still finished the race. I think in a day or two he'll understand, if he doesn't now.’’


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