Kyle Larson falls short with late-race charge at Kansas

With a handful of laps left in a pitched battle between Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson joined the party.

Larson needed a victory in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway to advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and late in the race, he began making dramatic gains on Busch, who was running second, and Elliott, who held the lead.

Larson, however, stalled out in third place and saw his chance for a championship ended two positions short at the finish of a remarkable weekend for the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team.

Larson wrecked his primary car two laps into Friday’s opening practice and qualified 27th in a backup. Because of the change to the backup car, he had to abandon his starting position and drop to the rear at the start of Sunday’s race.

By the end of the second stage, Larson had raced his way to sixth before mounting his charge in the late going.

Unlike in previous years, when quirky circumstances took him out of the Playoffs, Larson could cite overall performance as the reason he didn’t advance to the Round of 8 this season.

“I’m actually glad that nothing stupid took us out of the Playoffs this year,” Larson said. “We had that battery come out at Dover a couple years ago. Blew up an engine here last year.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have made it into the next round. But I’m glad it wasn’t anything other than just us not performing where we needed to be that kept us out of the next round.

“Just trying to figure out how to make our cars better. Try to figure out this new package we’re running next year, try to be prepared, good all season long.”

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Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.