Kyle Larson comes up short at Chicagoland, again

JOLIET, ILLINOIS - JUNE 30: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Axalta Chevrolet, races Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald's Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Kyle Larson came up one spot short of redemption Sunday at Chicagoland.  The Chip Ganassi Racing driver lost the race last year after a somewhat controversial last lap bump and run from Kyle Busch on the final lap, after Larson made up ground and passed Busch in the closing laps. He would recover to finish second and be part of the highlight reels the rest of the season. The move was also shown several times this past weekend.

Sunday, he would take the lead for the first time on lap 179 just after a restart.  In the final laps, Larson, much like he did last year, began to reel in Bowman who was enjoying the biggest lead of the race at the time of nearly 3 seconds. Larson caught Bowman and took the lead with 8 laps to go. Bowman regrouped however and retook the lead from Larson with 5 laps to go.

Unlike last year Sunday there was no bump and run, no last lap heroics and Larson had to settle for second once more.

“I could see him struggle when I was getting to him, and when I got by him, I’m like, all right, good, he’s going to be in my dirty air and get loose,” Larson said.  “He could get big runs on me down the straightaways, and I think that allowed him to get that run into 1 and he got to the main side and I got tight, I don’t know if him getting air on my spoiler or something got him tight, but I had to kind of breathe it a little bit, and then we side drafted on the backstretch.

“I wish I would have maybe done some things different into 3 instead of going all the way to wall, maybe chase him to bottom, just try to hang on his quarter, but he might have cleared me anyways down there,” he added. “Cool to see him get the win there.  Would have liked for him to have to wait another week or so, but happy for him. He’s an open‑wheel guy, so cool to see.”

“That wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for,” Busch said. “The car had been a struggle all weekend. We thought we were set up to be able to get a solid finish, but it didn’t work out.”


Greg Engle