Kyle Larson rolls out the barrel; 1-year anniversary of the Hail Melon

Who’s the Cup favorite now? Wasn’t Kyle Larson supposed to keep rolling?

Once considered the odds-on favorite to dominate the field after his victory in Vegas, Larson’s momentum came to a screeching halt at Homestead. A miscalculated pit entry resulted in a nearly disastrous collision with Ryan Blaney and a face-first encounter with protective barrels.

Kyle Larson

With no clear front-runner, it’s safe to say that William Byron is the favored contender. His consistent performance, highlighted by 10 top-10 finishes in his last 11 races, including a win and two runner-up placements in his last five, make him a strong candidate. However, we’ve been down this road before with Denny Hamlin, who was once considered destined for championships.

THRU THE GEARS: Christopher Bell rallies and rolls; Ryan Blaney gives Denny Hamlin taste of his own insult

NASCAR SPEED FREAKS: Denny Hamlin doomed, Ryan Blaney on the bubble; Martinsville awaits

Will there be an encore for Ross Chastain’s “Hail Melon” on its one-year anniversary?

Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely due to the sanctions imposed by NASCAR. Following Chastain’s daring ride at Martinsville, it took the referees a couple of months to officially prohibit such maneuvers due to safety concerns and unsporting behavior.

Nevertheless, every time the NASCAR circuit returns to Martinsville with a playoff cutline on the line, Chastain’s memorable move will be remembered.

And let’s not forget that Chastain’s move last year knocked Denny Hamlin out of the final four championship field.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR: Kyle Larson rolls out he barrel; ‘Hail Melon’ anniversary here


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