Close, but not close enough. That was the story for Kyle Larson over the weekend in Chicagoland.
Battling Kevin Harvick for the lead as late as Lap 252, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner had a golden opportunity to spoil the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Then, in an instant, Brad Keselowski powered between Larson and Harvick and stayed out front the rest of the way to win the MyAFibStory.com 400.
It’s been a year of “not-quites” for the 22-year-old Larson, who has flashed his unlimited potential with a runner-up and two third-place finishes this season and barely missed making the Chase on points.
The NASCAR Next and NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate will attempt to capture his elusive first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2 p.m. on ESPN), where he finished third in the circuit’s earlier visit this season. He claims fourth and 14th-place showings in his two NASCAR Nationwide Series appearances at the Magic Mile.
Larson is far from the only spoiler candidate in the second Chase race. Michael Waltrip Racing driver Brian Vickers won at New Hampshire last season and owns five top-10 finishes there.