Homestead, Fla – Kyle Larson showed on Sunday that if he can ever make the Championship 4 at in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, then the Chip Ganassi Racing driver is nearly a shoo-in to win the season championship.
That isn’t shocking though, as we’ve been saying that the last few years.
Larson, stormed to the lead early in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 and never really looked back. He led a race-high 145 of the 267 laps and brought his No. 42 Chevrolet home third at the 1.5-mile track.
The California native won the first two stages, leading all but 16 of the first 180 laps. But, he exited the pits in fifth place following the second stage and when he made his way back up to second, he would fade to fourth before a late race caution. In the end, he’d come away with a top five finish.
You could tell he just didn’t want to get in the way of the two championship contenders in the end. He had the faster car than each.
Last year at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Larson led a race-high 132 of the 268 laps and finished second.
In 2015, Larson finished fifth.
What about in NASCAR XFINITY Series action? He’s finished second, third, first and seventh respectively in four career starts.
So, as you can see, if Larson does get to the final round of the Cup playoffs, he’s certainly going to be the favorite to take home the championship due to the winner-take-all scenario.
But, despite dominating most of the season, arguably being the second best car to Martin Truex Jr., Larson was surprisingly eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 12. While he had a 29 point advantage heading into the final race of the second round at Kansas, he blew an engine for the first time of his Cup career. The problem was, it happened in the first stage and he scored zero stage points to go along with finishing 39th. For the round, he had 11 total stage points, Jimmie Johnson had 20. Johnson advanced by nine points over Larson to the Round of 8.
In the Round of 8, Larson’s bad luck continued.
He’d finish 37th in each of the first two races of the round at Martinsville and Texas. Then, at Phoenix, he had another engine problem and would finish last in 40th.
That’s why he was out with something to prove this weekend at Homestead. He wanted to end that horrible drought and head to the 2018 season with momentum.