Prior to Kyle Larson’s win at Watkins Glen International, he and Christopher Bell had an on-track incident. The driver of the No. 5 spun the No. 20, knocking him out of contention for the win. Larson has now said that Bell is “not willing” to discuss the incident with him ahead of the trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Larson provided the update during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He explained that he initially thought that he was “completely in the wrong” after spinning Bell. He later watched the replay and felt that they both played roles in the collision. However, Larson explained that he hasn’t had the opportunity to discuss the incident with Bell in the days following the race.
“I reached out and tried, but I guess he’s not willing to talk to me, which is kind of whatever,” Larson said during his appearance. “I think any adult in the field would at least have a conversation with you, but he doesn’t care to. So, we’ll move on from it and if he wants to get me back, that’s fine. Whatever. I’m not going to worry about it. If it makes him sleep better at night to ignore me and want to crash me or whatever, so be it.”
The Incident Occurred During the Final Stage at Watkins Glen
Prior to the spin, Bell appeared to be within reach of his second win of the season. He hung on Martin Truex Jr.’s bumper during the final stage of the race, constantly fighting to take the lead. Larson raced in third place while trying to move past Bell.
Larson moved to the inside of Bell’s stock car as they entered Turn 1, but he ran out of room and bumped the passenger’s side door of the No. 20, sending it spinning off of the track. Analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after watching the replay that Bell did not give Larson enough room as they entered the turn, forcing him onto the curb. Though Larson later apologized for hitting his fellow driver.
“I want to say a big apology to Christopher Bell,” Larson said during his post-race interview on the track. “I was inside but I wasn’t inside enough, and I didn’t — I needed to have the nose a few feet further ahead, and the angles just caught there in the middle and I ended up turning him. I hate that. I race with him a lot. He’s probably the one guy that I race with the most in all my racing, so hate to turn him like that. We’ve had incredible races together.
Bell Made Strong Comments About the Incident
The driver of the No. 5 apologized to Bell during his post-race interview and later explained to media members how he “made a mistake” getting into the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. Bell, on the other hand, made strong comments during his own interview while saying that Larson took away an opportunity from the No. 20 team.
“I obviously haven’t seen [the contact] so I don’t know if I crowded him at all,” Bell told NBC Sports after the race. “But he shouldn’t have been in there in the first place. He didn’t have a run coming off of [Turn] 7, and we were all packed up. I was faster than the [No.] 19 at the time but could never make a run on him to get by him. Same thing with [Larson].
“Very disappointing. Our Stanley/Pristine Auction Camry was very fast and definitely capable of winning the race today,” Bell continued. “Extremely frustrating, but there is a lot more racing to go.”
The two men will face off once again during the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which features another road course race. They will take on the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 15, at 1 p.m. ET. NBC will provide coverage as part of a special crossover weekend with IndyCar.