Kyle Larson overcomes lack of speed to finish 11th at Talladega

Kyle Larson’s balky No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet qualified 34th on Saturday. After unapproved adjustments to the car, Larson started last in Sunday’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

After that, things got worse. On lap 104 of 193, Larson blew a left rear tire and spun on the backstretch, losing a lap in the process.

Timely cautions and attrition, however, came to his rescue. Larson got his lap back as the beneficiary under caution for the end of Stage 2, and after spending most of the afternoon running mid-pack, he dodged late accidents to finish 11th—a miraculous result given the lack of strength in his car.

“We just had a terrible race car and were really slow all weekend,” Larson said after the race. “We were able to salvage a decent finish, but the Fords are so fast here and can rack up a lot of stage points.

“Even when they have a bad day, they still gain points on us. It is what it is. We’ll just go to Kansas and try and win.”

With the Round of 12 cutoff race at Kansas set for next Sunday, Larson faces elimination from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He’s 11th in the standings, 26 points behind reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr., who is currently in eighth place.

Larson finished fourth at Kansas in May.

“Yeah, Kansas is a good track for us,” Larson. “We’ve challenged for wins there in the past, and hopefully we can go there next week and be strong.”

“Strong” might not be good enough. Given his position in the standings, Larson may have to win to advance.

About Greg Engle 7420 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.