Nemechek took the lead from Justin Allgaier on the final restart at Darlington Raceway, and he put some distance between himself and the rest of the field. However, Larson was able to track down the No. 20 Toyota as the laps clicked down.
Nemechek took the white flag as the leader, but Larson got a massive run in Turn 1. He dove to the bottom and got side-by-side with Nemechek before ultimately taking the lead as the No. 20 made contact with the wall.
Nemechek made one final attempt to capture the win, and he went to Larson’s inside. However, the No. 10 Chevrolet hit the wall hard, rebounded, and slammed the No. 20 Toyota toward the inside wall.
Larson was able to cross the finish line and capture his career-first win at Darlington Raceway. Justin Allgaier finished second, Cole Custer finished third, and Austin Hill finished fourth. Nemechek crossed the finish line sideways after wrecking, and he ended the day fifth overall.
“I could really work that line in [Turns] 1 and 2, get runs in the center of 1 and 2 there,” Larson told FOX Sports’ Regan Smith after the race. “Was able to pack air on him and get to his inside, just side-drafting really tough. Again, it was like we were just bouncing off of each other a little bit.
“I’m not sure what happened into [Turn] 3, but it seemed like he tried to get in behind me to shove me into the corner, and it kind of hooked me right and hit the wall. Just had to try to stay away from him getting off of [Turn] 4. What an exciting race there.”
Nemechek Responded After Exiting the Infield Care Center
Early on, it appeared that Nemechek would be the winning driver. He had a dominant car, and he was able to lead 57 total laps in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota GR Supra. Ultimately, he wrecked and finished fifth.
While the end was disappointing, Nemechek clearly stated that there were no issues with the outcome of the race. He called the contact from Larson just “good, hard racing.” He added that he was “smiling ear-to-ear” after the race, albeit internally.
“We were both trying to get the throttle down. Whoever could get to the line first was going to win,” Nemechek said after exiting the infield care center. “And I don’t know if he came off the wall or if I just got tight and slid up into his left rear. I haven’t seen a replay, so I can’t give you a play-by-play on that.”
As Nemechek continued to explain, Larson is one of the best drivers in NASCAR. He’s won numerous races, and he has celebrated a Cup Series championship. Nemechek expected either himself or Larson to win.
Larson Overcame a Mistake at Darlington Raceway
There was no doubt that Larson had one of the best cars in the field early at Darlington Raceway. The No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro entered the weekend with eight top-10 finishes and one win, courtesy of multiple drivers.
Larson’s speed was evident early as he started third overall and won Stage 1. He then finished second in Stage 2 after a fascinating battle with Nemechek on the final lap. However, the situation changed on Lap 93.
Larson received a speeding penalty during the Stage 2 caution break, which dropped him to the rear of the field. He restarted 30th overall with fewer than 50 laps remaining, and he had to immediately begin working his way through the field.
Larson used a fast No. 10 Chevrolet to work his way inside of the top 10 by Lap 117 and then he used two cautions to put himself on the second row for the final restart on Lap 141. He then proceeded to chase down Nemechek before ultimately taking the lead for the final time on the last lap.