Kyle Larson needs two excellent races – or one win – to advance

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald's Chevrolet, stands on the grid during the Salute to Veterans Qualifying Day Fueled by The Texas Lottery for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 02, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The thesis has always been that, if rim-rider Kyle Larson ever advances to Homestead-Miami Speedway as one of the Championship 4, he’d have to be considered a favorite for the title, given his unmatched prowess at running the wall at the 1.5-mile speedway.

The problem has been getting there, and approaching Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Larson is 24 points behind fourth-place Joey Logano in the race for a Playoff berth in the season finale. Accordingly, Larson has no margin for error—and he knows it.

“Obviously, we have to have a really good day,” Larson said. “Twenty-four points out, if I can’t win, I need to do a really good job in each stage and probably finish in the top-three. Hopefully, I can go win, and that would make next week (at Phoenix) easy. I know I have to have a really good day.”

Fortunately for Larson, his average finish of 20.4 at Texas belies the speed he typically has in his No. 2 Chevrolets.

“We’re always really fast here at Texas, especially since the repave (after the November 2016 race),” Larson said. “I’ve just had a crash and two blown right-front tires. I’ve always ran really well here. If you just look at a piece of paper, you would think that I don’t run well here. But we’re always really fast. We just have to keep the right-front holding air.”

Greg Engle