Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray were both unable to get the win they needed to enter the Chase for the Sprint Cup this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
Larson was one of four drivers that still could have made the Chase on points alone going into the Federated Auto Parts 400, but at 24 points behind the cutoff, he basically had to have a victory.
Instead, he finished 11th and missed the post-season by 16 points.
On multiple restarts, Larson would make up solid chunks of track position but ended up giving it back as the stints played out over the long run. He would usually settle in the 10th-12th range, and that’s where he ended up.
“Our Target Chevy was just outside of a Top 10 car, so I hate that we couldn’t get into the Chase, but we’ve been working hard all year,” Larson said. “I guess that’s the crappy part. But wins are important, so we’ve got to work on that next year to get some wins before the post season starts.
“I’m sure we’ll work hard for 2015 from here on out to try and get better and hopefully, it all pays off.”
His veteran teammate McMurray was one of 15 drivers that could only make the Chase with a win. He had a better night on the track than Larson did, but with Brad Keselowski basically stinking up the joint, there was no way the former Daytona 500 winner was going to get the result he needed.
McMurray would finish fourth behind Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer, who lost out on the 16th and final Chase spot by a mere seven markers.
“Had a really good night, had a really fast car,” McMurray said. “The team did a good job. Our pit crew did an amazing job gaining of maintaining what we had.
“I thought at times there was a chance we could maybe get up there and contend for the win. But after the third or fourth stop, we just couldn’t make the car any better. We got to the best we could be, which was a third or fourth place car.”
In the case of the Ganassi men, both had late-season stumbles they may ultimately blame for them not being in the Chase.
Larson’s crash and 43rd place finish at Michigan a few weeks ago proved lethal to his hopes, while McMurray, who was already too far down the standings to make the Chase on points, was unable to close the deal at Bristol after dominating much of that outing.