Achieving something truly historic is an incredibly difficult task no matter the sport.

In motorsports, though, the added element of having to rely on a machine with thousands of components only increases the challenge.

And this NASCAR driver was given a harsh reminder of that fact on Saturday, as he had a historic achievement literally in his sights before all hell broke loose.

This time last season, Kyle Larson didn’t know if he’d ever run another Cup Series race again after being fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended by NASCAR in April for using a racial slur during an iRacing livestream.

In fact, this was the point last year where Larson and his wife were in the process of selling the home their family was currently living in, and the home they were in the process of building for their family’s future.

It seemed like one bad decision had literally cost Larson everything, while also costing the sport one of the best, young raw talents of this generation.

But after going above and beyond to earn his way back into NASCAR – and dominating the dirt sprint car scene across the country – Larson was able to go from being fired by a mediocre Ganassi team to being signed by the greatest team in NASCAR history, Hendrick Motorsports.

And the gamble that Hendrick took on Larson – essentially bank rolling the entire #5 team without any sponsorship due to all the negative media attention he received – has undoubtedly paid off for everyone involved as Larson is not only back in the Cup Series, but having the best season of his career.

At the halfway point of the season, Larson had already tied his career high with four wins, set a career high for laps led, secured 10 top-five’s, 13 top-10’s, and built comfortable lead in the Cup Series playoff standings despite only finishing higher than eighth just once in his career (6th place in 2019).

On top of that, heading into this past weekend’s second annual Pocono doubleheader weekend, Larson had won an incredible three straight points paying races – which is actually four consecutive races overall when you include his $1 million win in the All-Star race at Texas – and had finished no worse than second in six straight races.

It’s a level of dominance that doesn’t happen often in the sport, with the list of those who have won three races in a row featuring names like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, and Cale Yarborough.

While winning three races in a row is an incredibly rare accomplishment, winning four races in a row is almost unheard of as it’s only happened just nine times in the sport’s modern era – since 1972 – and hasn’t been done since Jimmie Johnson in 2007.

But on Saturday, in the first race of the Pocono doubleheader, Larson was well on his way to putting himself amongst that elite company, leading the race by a comfortable margin heading into the final corner on the final lap of the Organics CBD 325.

That’s when all hell broke loose, though, as Larson’s left front tire blew in that final corner, slamming his car into the outside retaining wall with the finish line, and history, literally in his sight.

Larson was relegated to a ninth place finish, a finish that would have been a solid day for basically the entire field, but was Larson’s worst finish in almost two months of racing.

“I guess disbelief still,” Larson said after the race. “I don’t know, a little bit laughable just because I can’t believe it. Hate that we didn’t get another win. It would have been cool to win five in a row. It just wasn’t meant to be, I guess, today.”

“I felt something like right in the middle of the tunnel (turn),” Larson continued. “I wasn’t quite sure what it was yet. It finally kind of shredded halfway through the short chute there. I couldn’t turn. Hate that we didn’t get the win . . . Yeah, I hate we didn’t get HendrickCars.com into victory lane, but we’ll try to start another streak tomorrow.”

While Larson’s chance at history came to a close, his misfortune didn’t deter Hendrick Motorsports from continuing their dominance of the 2021 Cup Series season.

Larson’s teammate Alex Bowman inherited the lead after his left front tire failure, winning his third race of the season, and giving Hendrick their sixth consecutive win as a team.

Hendrick’s six consecutive wins is now tied for the third most in NASCAR history, and more importantly, the most by any team in the sport’s modern era.

With Hendrick Motorsports and Larson both at the top of their game, performing as well in every single aspect of the sport as any driver and team possibly can, there’s little reason to believe that they won’t continue their dominance throughout the rest of 2021.

In fact, despite the heartbreak of Saturday’s race for Larson and his #5 team, Larson was able to bounce back in a big way in the second race of the Pocono doubleheader on Sunday, rallying to a second place finish after being forced to start dead last due to his switch to a backup car, and giving him top-2 finishes in seven of the past eight races.

Currently, Hendrick Motorsports’ four teams all sit in the top-eight of the Cup Series’ playoff points standings, and they are all already locked into automatic playoff berths thanks to the fact that they’ve all already won races halfway through the season.

It’ll be interesting to see if any other teams can manage to catch up to Larson and Hendrick Motorsports as the Cup Series gets closer to the playoffs.

But as for now, it appears that the only thing that’s capable of slowing down either is a blown tire.

And even then, they just seem to come back even stronger.

Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.