JOLIET, Ill – Kyle Larson started off the season with what he calls “bad luck.” It wasn’t like he had bad race cars, just if anything could go wrong for him, it did. Larson had two top 10 finishes in the first 10 races of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Then, came his first top five finish with a third place run in Dover. From there, he finished eighth in Kansas and won the All-Star race a week after. Was the momentum finally on his side?
It unfortunately wasn’t.
Larson says at that point they ruined their luck by making mistakes. His four finishes since – 33rd, 26th, 14th and 10th respectively.
But, we come back to the Chicagoland Speedway. The site of the famous “slide job” battle between Larson and Kyle Busch last year. Could this be the place where Larson gets back on track?
I’d say so.
Larson, was so strong in Sunday’s rain delayed Camping World 400 in getting stage points in the second stage (3rd) and bringing his No. 42 Chevrolet home runner-up for just his second top five finish all year and his third straight on the 1.5-mile track.
It was the second straight year of a runner-up at that as he had a great end of the race battle with race winner Alex Bowman. He even passed Bowman for the lead on Lap 260 but Bowman regrouped and got back by two laps later.
“I could see him struggling as I was getting to him,” said Larson. “When I got by him I thought good. He would be in my dirty air and get loose. But, he got big runs on my in the straightaway. I wish I did some things differently in Turn 3. He might have cleared me anyways.
“I felt slow in clean air. We had too much drag which made us good up front. I was shocked we actually got to him. He did a good job of regrouping there.”
For whatever reason, Larson has been at his best here. He has five top seven results in his six career tries. This was the finish he needed giving him some cushion on the playoff bubble. He heads to the midway point of the year next week in Daytona to the good side on the bubble.