Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Target Chevrolet smacked the wall in Michigan, ending his day early with a last-place finish – the repercussions of which were huge.
Going into the race, he sat at 15th on the Chase Grid, on the fringe, but still above the qualifying line. Now, the 22-year-old mans the 19th position, trailing Greg Biffle by 24 points for the 16th and final spot on the Chase Grid with just three races to go before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“We had a really good Target Chevy this weekend, so that’s why what happened in the race was so disappointing,” Larson said. “It’s just a shame because we were up there in the points’ battle for the Chase, so now we have to work even harder to try and get in.”
Fortunately for the rookie, his first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marks the new win-and-you’re-in Chase format. If Larson can come up victorious in any of the final three showdowns, he will join Denny Hamlin (2006) as the second rookie driver to ever qualify for the Chase.
Larson’s best chance comes at Bristol in the IRWIN Tools Night Race on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC). The Ganassi driver has experienced success at Bristol with two runner-ups and one fifth-place finish in three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts and a 10th-place performance in his first Sprint Cup appearance at the track in March.
“I think we have a great car every time we get on the track and Bristol is one of my favorite tracks,” Larson said. “So we will try to go there and get a win and not worry about points anymore.”