On Friday, Kyle Larson said he wouldn’t be disappointed if he did not have his inaugural Sprint Cup win before this season ended.
But if he continues to run the way he’s been running and still isn’t able to seal the deal in the final eight races of 2014, one wonders if he’ll get at least a little frustrated.
The rookie star once again dueled up front with the Chasers today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and eventually dusted Kevin Harvick in the green-white-checkered restart to pick up a second-place finish.
That equals his second back in the spring at Auto Club Speedway as his best Cup result so far.
“Didn’t think we’d be a second-place finisher,” Larson said afterwards. “We weren’t a second-place car by any means – Top-5 car, I thought. [It was] crazy how many cautions there were at the end. [I] finally figured it out the last time, was able to get to second, hold off Kevin for two laps to get second.
“[I’m] happy about the finish. Hopefully, someday soon, I’ll get one spot better. Like I said last week, all these [races] coming close, finishing second or third, is going to make that win feel really special.”
Larson was unable to reel in today’s winner, Joey Logano, as the Penske pilot was simply too strong during the late restarts on fresher tires.
But considering today’s finish and his third-place run last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, it’s clear that Larson and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team want some of the spotlight that’s being shined on those in the running for the championship.
When asked if his finishes in the first two Chase races had him thinking “what if,” Larson admitted that it was “a little bit disappointing” to not be involved in the post-season but was still glad that he and teammate Jamie McMurray (who finished fourth today) have been running well in this final stretch.
“I know other teams that are in the Chase notice that and I’m sure they’re worried about us for next season already,” Larson asserted.
Larson began to make a serious move toward the lead pack in the disjointed second half of the race after early trouble with handling on his car.
“The first couple runs, I was really loose on exit of the corner, tight in the center, loose on my entry,” he said. “After that, all three parts of the corner were fixed.
“Once we got the car driving good, we just had to miss those wrecks. We gambled on fuel a little bit, but all the cautions worked out, so it wasn’t really a gamble very much.”
Larson said he didn’t exactly know what adjustments were made to his car, but it’s clear that they worked. With 75 to go, he was running in the Top 5 and remained in that bracket for the rest of the race.