Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

Kyle Larson keeps getting closer to first Sprint Cup victory

CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson believes he's on the verge of kicking in the door and getting his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win.

The 23-year-old seems to be getting close.

Larson finished second two weeks ago at Dover, then had a chance to win the All-Star exhibition race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend but lost control of his car and hit the wall after a challenge from Joey Logano. He wound up 16th, missing out on a losing out on a chance (albeit in a nonpoints race) at a $1 million first-place prize

"It would mean a lot to get it anywhere, but especially here at Charlotte, close to home," Larson said of his first Sprint Cup win. "We have been rolling good the last few weeks. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going. Our car has been getting a lot faster."

Whether it is fast enough in tonight's in the Coca-Cola 600 — NASCAR's longest race — remains to be seen.

There have been great expectations thrust upon Larson, the drive of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet who has gone 87 races without a Sprint Cup victory.

But his recent success, which includes his win in the third segment of the Sprint Showdown last week to race his way into the All-Star Race, has him feeling confident.

Just certainly not overconfident.

"A lot of the times I've seen drivers in the past that run well in the All-Star Race don't run well at the 600," Larson said. "Hopefully, that is not the case this week, but we are going to work really hard to try and have a good run. Hopefully, it all works out."

Larson, who starts 24th tonight, is expected to receive plenty of competition from Logano, who has won the last two races at CMS, including the fall race in October. Logano starts on the front row alongside pole-sitter Martin Truex.

"This has become one of our best race tracks for sure," Logano said. "Winning the last two races here, it gives you a lot of confidence going into races."

But Logano is quick to point out this will be the third different rules package in the past three races at CMS, and the track is always changing depending on the weather.

"It feels like it is something different every time," Logano said.

Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick has also been strong at CMS in recent years.

Harvick has a win, two second-place finishes and a ninth in his four points races since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He won in October 2014 when he led 162 laps and beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line. He finished runnerup to Jimmie Johnson in May 2014 and Logano last October.

"I think we got everything straightened out over the last couple of years," Harvick said. "Since I got to Stewart-Haas Racing, it's been a really good racetrack for us and the results have been great."

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