NASCAR QNA: Kyle Larson rolls out the barrel; 1-year anniversary of the Hail Melon

Wasn’t Kyle Larson supposed to keep rolling? Who’s the Cup favorite now?

For a few minutes there, Larson was the popular pick as odds-on favorite to roll from his Vegas win and just keep running away with it.

Then came his epic miscalculation at Homestead, where he misjudged a pit entry, nearly ruined Ryan Blaney’s season, and ended up nose-first into protective barrels.

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson

Without a clear top dog, let’s lean toward consistency and say William Byron is the favorite, simply because he hasn’t had a truly bad week since early August at Michigan.

Billy the Kid has 10 top-10s in his last 11 starts, with a win and pair of runner-ups in the last five. He seems destined to win championships, but then again, we used to say that about Denny Hamlin.

THRU THE GEARS Christopher Bell rallies and rolls; Ryan Blaney gives Denny Hamlin taste of his own insult

NASCAR SPEED FREAKS Denny Hamlin doomed, Ryan Blaney on the bubble; Martinsville awaits

On the one-year anniversary of Ross Chastain’s “Hail Melon,” any chance of an encore?

Not without an accompanying penalty from NASCAR referees, who waited a couple of months after Chastain’s wild Martinsville ride to officially ban such things going forward.

The video-game maneuver became an instant highlight and will be long remembered, but in the sober afterglow, it really is a safety hazard, and to some it’s a bit unsporting.

But every time NASCAR goes to Martinsville with a playoff cutline looming, it’ll be recalled.

Oh, and in case you forgot, yes, it was Denny Hamlin who got knocked out of the final-four championship field by Chastain last year.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR: Kyle Larson rolls out he barrel; 'Hail Melon' anniversary here