DOVER, DE – Entering today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Dover International Speedway, it seemed all but certain that at least one of the two Chip Ganassi Racing cars would advance to the second round of the Chase. With Dover being an elimination race, Kyle Larson held the 12th and final spot while his teammate Jamie McMurray was only five points out.
Larson, had a top 11 finish in all 10 of his NASCAR starts at Dover, so it seemed pretty much a guarantee that he would make the Round of 12.
Then, McMurray has been running well enough to put himself in position to advance to the next round himself barring a disaster to someone else. He had five top 15’s in his last six starts on the season, and would hope to be there in the end of today’s race.
Instead, before we even hit the halfway point of today’s race – both were eliminated.
It all started on Lap 38 when Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet lost power. He’d have to pit and lose three laps in the process.
“I guess my whole stock car career kind of piled up into the first 50 laps there with bad luck,” Larson said. “We probably would have been all right if we didn’t have too many men over the wall because we only lost a lap getting the battery back going good and then I had to do the drive-through and lost another two laps.
“So, once you get down more than one lap really, you’re kind of screwed here. We just kept fighting — well, I mean, not really I guess fighting; there wasn’t much we could do.”
Then, McMurray had his turn of bad luck. His No. 1 Chevrolet dropped at least a cylinder or two on Lap 73 as his speed dropped dramatically. He’d tried to make it last as long as he could, but the motor blew about 70 laps later ending his day.
“Horrible day for our organization,” McMurray said, as he stood in the garage midway through the event while his team worked feverishly to repair the No. 1 Chevrolet
“You have wishful thinking at that point,” McMurray said. “No one wants to stay out and blow up, not to oil the track down. Also it’s hard to diagnose the problem if the motor’s blown up. Because you’re in a position this weekend where you just have to go for it and what you hope is you’ve got something as simple as a plug wire or a spark plug that you can replace and the motor’s not going to grenade. We came here and looked at it, and actually on the digital dash, we have a little diagnosis page and nothing is showing up, so we didn’t know what was wrong. We were just going to salvage as long as we could.”
McMurray would finish 40th while Larson was 25th eliminating them both from the Chase today.