Larson ‘couldn’t really do anything’ to get past Hamlin at Dover

Kyle Larson “couldn’t really do anything” with Denny Hamlin as the two separated themselves from the field in a battle to win at Dover Motor Speedway.

Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team wound up second, only able to get within a few car lengths of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. Hamlin prevailed after driving away on the final restart with 62 laps to go and moved around to take away any charge Larson tried to mount in the final laps.

It was the second-to-last restart in the Wurth 400 that changed Larson’s luck. He led the field to the restart with 72 laps to go, doing so on the outside of Hamlin. As the two battled side-by-side down the backstretch, Hamlin was ahead when the caution flew for a crash off Turn 2.

Hamlin assumed the race lead, which he never surrounded. Larson was scored in second place and cited losing control of the race as the only difference he could have needed to beat Hamlin.

“I went late in the zone and Martin [Truex Jr.] was trying to time it behind me and he hit me right when I wanted to go and it just screwed up,” Larson said of the penultimate restart. “I got a lot of wheel spin, and he [Hamlin] was kind of able to out-race me into [Turn] 1. His car was really good on the short runs. I could pace it and get closer to him at the end of the runs, but it’s so easy to air-block. Not that he was doing anything dirty or anything like that. It’s so easy as the leader, especially at a place like this, to shut off the air on the guys behind you.

“I knew when I got within three car lengths, he was going to start moving around. I just couldn’t really do anything. I was trying all sorts of different angles and speeds and all that. Nothing could generate enough speed to get close enough, I guess, to do anything. So that was a bummer.”

Larson led 39 laps Sunday and won the second stage. He leads the series with six stage wins.

“A great day for our Chevy team,” Larson said. “We started 21st, drove up to fifth in the first stage, and then got a stage win — another stage win, so that was good. Good points day. But we would have loved to get a win.

“[We’re] always fast here at Dover. Just needed to be a little bit better on the restarts. I’ve lost a lot of races on restarts here, so just keep trying to get better.”

Story originally appeared on Racer