For the third time this season, Kyle Larson finished runner-up in a Sprint Cup race, once again depriving him of his first win in NASCAR’s premier series.
But Larson, who finished second in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, doesn’t seem overly concerned.
He knows his first win is coming.
“Another second, but you can’t be too disappointed in that,” Larson told ESPN. “The wins are going to be coming, so I just have to be patient. Every time I’ve been in the top 3 or getting close like this, it’s going to make the win feel that much better.”
Sure, it may be frustrating to come so close yet again – that includes five other top-five finishes for a total of eight in the first 30 Cup races in his rookie season – but Larson is maintaining an even keel about it all.
He can take some consolation that he gave race winner Joey Logano everything he could handle in the closing laps, but just came up a bit short.
“I don’t know if he was any better than us or we were better than him,” Larson said. “I thought we were pretty equal. We were running the same laps (times) the last run.
“Our Target Chevy was really good. … It’s a good finish. We were just so even, I couldn’t do anything, but I couldn’t get a run on him in traffic.”
Later in a post-race press conference in the infield media center, Larson further dissected his late run with Logano.
“I stayed within probably six or seven car lengths for 10 to 12 laps, and once I got closer, I got pretty loose,” he said. “So I was trying to run even closer to the wall to get some of that air out of my rear spoiler.
“It was still too loose. I don’t think there was anything I could have done there at the end to get any closer than I did.”
Larson appears to be a shoe-in to win this year’s Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year over chief rival Austin Dillon. Sunday marked the 21st race that Larson has been the highest-finishing rookie.
“That’s kind of a goal we set out each week is to be the highest-finishing rookie and to be in the top 10, and the way we’ve been running, we want to be in the top 5 now every week,” Larson said. “We’ve beat Austin quite a bit in that.
“We’ve got a pretty sizable point lead in the Rookie of the Year. I hope I can pull it off. I don’t see why I wouldn’t. It would be a great award for me.”
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