For the second consecutive week, Kyle Larson passed the most racecars, starting from the back, only to race to the front early on.
The No. 42 car started shotgun on the field after Larson’s pole winning run was disallowed on Friday for an unapproved rear deck lid. However, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver wasted no time getting to the front on Sunday afternoon.
By the time NASCAR threw the competition caution on Lap 35, Larson had raced to 10th, proving he had the fastest car after pacing two of the three practice sessions earlier in the weekend.
At the conclusion of the first stage, Larson drove the No. 42 car up to third, only behind Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth. However, he was forced to pit, along with the other two drivers at the end of the stage, dropping back to 25th on the resuming restart.
During the second stage, Larson drove his way up to ninth with only nine laps of caution, spacing the field out. But the 24-year-old would not be derailed as he would remain on the back half of the top five for much of the final stage, but racing his way up to second, only behind race winner Denny Hamlin.
“Finished second, but another hard-fought race,” Larson said of his race. “You know, this is the third time we’ve had to start last and drove up to second. I wish we could have been a spot better again, but really proud of my team and proud of the cars that they’re bringing for me to drive each and every week. It’s been a tough couple weeks through the tech line, so if we make it through here and then have a good Tuesday at NASCAR, but we’ll see.”
On Tuesday of last week, Larson’s team was penalized 35 points, dropping him to second in the overall championship standings, only behind Truex. Crew chief Chad Johnston was suspended for three races, due to an illegal rear brake cooling assembly was found in the No. 42 car post-race.
Along with the post-race penalty, Larson has had to start from the rear in four races this season for not getting through pre-qualifying inspection. Of those four races, Larson has recorded three runner-up finishes, also finishing 33rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway, after racing inside the top 10.
Because of the recent trouble through inspection, Larson believes NASCAR is taking a closer look at their race race team.
“It seems like we have a target on our back,” Larson said. ” But that’s a good thing, too. It means everybody is paying attention to us. This is my fourth year, and I’ve never been in the position to where NASCAR and other teams are paying so much attention to our race car. That’s a compliment to everybody at our race shop.”
NASCAR heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 next weekend. In three career starts at the famed venue, Larson has posted top-10 finishes in each event, coming home a career-best fifth last year.