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April 14, 2024

Kyle Larson loses wheel during Stage 2 at Texas; penalized two laps

FORT WORTH, Texas – “I think I have a flat tire.”

Just seconds after Kyle Larson uttered those words over the No. 5 team communications, the right-rear wheel fell off the then-race leader’s car under caution following a Carson Hocevar spin on Lap 115 at Texas Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Race results | Texas photos

Larson was able to nurse his Chevrolet back to pit road without issue but was penalized two laps because the wheel fell off the vehicle while on the track.

Larson, the pole winner for Sunday’s race, was the early frontrunner for his second victory of 2024 after leading 77 laps and grabbing the Stage 1 green-checkered flag.

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion received the free pass to earn one of his two laps back after a Lap 143 crash by Michael McDowell brought out the seventh caution of the afternoon and got back onto the lead lap at the conclusion of Stage 2.

Larson charged his way back into the top 20 but was collected in an accident in Turn 1 with Zane Smith with just seven laps remaining in regulation. Larson’s rally ultimately ended with a 21st-place finish but left with the series points lead intact, maintaining a 17-point gap to Martin Truex Jr. in the hunt for the regular-season championship.