It was a breakout season for Kyle Larson, but a blown engine at Kansas Speedway has brought his chance at a championship to an abrupt end.
Shortly before the end of Stage 1, Larson began reporting to his crew that the engine was running sour. He brought the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet down pit road to the attention of his crew, and what they found wasn’t a good sign. The team was unable to diagnose the issue, and sent Larson back on the track in hopes of the electrical issue working itself out. Time was ticking for the No. 42 team, and finally with three laps remaining in the stage, the engine finally went up in smoke; and so did his championship dreams.
“I felt it drop a cylinder or something,” said Larson on NBCSN. “It’s a disappointing way to finish the race and probably our season but we’ll be alright. I’m going to cross my fingers and pray to anything I can pray to. I don’t think 29 points is enough. It’s disappointing but we’ve had a good year.”
And pray he did.
The light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to look positive for Larson as Jimmie Johnson caused two straight cautions.
Not long after Johnson’s issues, Matt Kenseth would have his own problems. Kenseth was involved in a multi-car accident that would eliminate him from playoff contention when he and the No. 20 team would be parked for having too many men over the wall repairing the car, with seven guys instead of six. The elimination of Kenseth would put the battle between Johnson in an ill-handling car, and Larson, with Larson helplessly sitting in the garage.
In the end, Johnson would finish a strong 11th that would ultimately eliminate the No. 42 from the playoffs after having a career year.