Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Multi-car incident ends Kyle Larson's dominant Iowa run

Kyle Larson had the car to beat Sunday evening at Iowa Speedway, which he used to lead 80 laps. He was not able to take advantage of this car after a multi-car incident sent him behind the wall.

The crash occurred at the start of the third and final stage at the short track. Larson saw an opening between Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez, so he moved into that stop in an attempt to gain multiple positions and move into the top four.

The field went three-wide and then Suarez got loose. He made contact with Larson, who then spun into the outside wall. While Keselowski escaped unscathed, Denny Hamlin was less fortunate. He was next to the outside wall when Larson spun directly in front of him. Hamlin had nowhere to go.

The incident sent both Larson and Hamlin to pit road so their teams could assess the damage to their respective cars and begin to make repairs. Joe Gibbs Racing determined that Hamlin had a bent toe link in the front of the No. 11. Repairs were not possible, so Hamlin had to continue in the race while adjusting his steering.

Larson had a much bigger issue. He fell multiple laps down while the team worked on the No. 5 and then NASCAR penalized the team for too many crew members over the wall. Larson ultimately went behind the wall after meeting minimum speed. He returned 31 laps behind the leaders.

While Ryan Blaney had led a race-high 113 laps in the first two stages at Iowa, he did not have the car to contend with Larson for the win. The No. 5 was faster than other cars in the field. Larson started on the pole and then used this speed to finish second in stage 1 and win stage 2.

The first two stages at Iowa Speedway made it appear that Larson would win his second consecutive race and his fourth of the season. Instead, the crash disrupted his night and took away this opportunity. Though Larson's 19 stage points ensured that there would be less of a point penalty at the end of the day.