This time around, Kyle Larson couldn’t quite put the pressure on Kyle Busch at Bristol in the Nationwide Series.
In last year’s spring Nationwide race at Bristol, Larson battled with Busch one-on-one in the final laps before Busch edged him at the stripe by a mere .023 of a second.
Larson got himself past Kevin Harvick for second with seven laps remaining in today’s Drive to End Diabetes 300, but was unable to reel in “Rowdy,” who captured his third straight Nationwide win in Thunder Valley by 1.4 seconds.
The 21-year-old had to overcome an early speeding penalty on pit road in order to get the runner-up result from the pole position.
“That’s two weeks in a row that I’ve been caught speeding on pit lane so I’ll have to go back and think about that,” he told ESPN. “Our car was OK to start and [the team] worked on it and got it better in the center [of the corner], and then the track [groove] got out to the wall, where I like it.
“…We got to second [after the last restart] and I thought I might have a shot at Kyle, but I just got up over – I guess the cushion, you could call it – and got some marbles on my tires. From there, I had to fight off Kevin because Kyle got too far ahead.”
Still, it was another solid learning experience for the Sprint Cup rookie against great competition from the Cup veterans. It doesn’t hurt that Turner Scott Motorsports has been able to give him very competitive equipment on the Nationwide side as well.
“I didn’t think Kyle had the best car today and he was able to fight through it and get the win,” Larson added. “I can always learn something when I’m behind him.
“It seems like this year, I’m closer to them so I can be able to see the guys up front and learn some more.”
No doubt he’ll be looking to put these lessons to good use in tomorrow’s Food City 500 for the Cup Series, in which he’ll start 20th.