Kyle Larson reflects on a memorable week of adversity, controversy and triumph

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SPARTA, Ky. – Kyle Larson’s race Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway wasn’t that much different from his week behind the wheel.

Some sublime passing. Some self-induced errors. Some stirring charges from the back.

And through it all, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver at center stage.

“It’s been entertaining,” Larson said after finishing second in the Quaker State 400. “A lot of fun I had this week.”

Martin Truex Jr. might have dominated by leading 152 of 274 laps on the 1.5-mile oval, but Larson still put on a show with 90 green-flag passes (including 51 quality passes of cars in the top) after starting from the rear and then having to rally again from a speeding penalty on Lap 80.

He also overcame a battery problem in his No. 42 Chevrolet, and yet he still was in position to snatch a win from Truex when the race entered a final restart in overtime after Kurt Busch’s engine failed.

Larson came up just short of his fourth win of the week – after three victories in four sprint car starts this week while barnstorming around Pennsylvania, which was “really, really cool, something I’m extremely proud of” accomplishing, Larson said.

What wasn’t as cool was a social media controversy that Larson found himself embroiled in after he put NASCAR’s merchandise sales in the spotlight with a tweet about selling $13,000 in T-shirts at a Pennsylvania dirt track.

Larson essentially told a fan that signing autographs for an hour wasn’t worth his time because the T-shirt royalties would be minuscule.

“That was kind of a bummer because I didn’t intend for my comments to get taken that way, but after I had read (the tweet) and I understood the mistake I had made in wording it,” he said. “I should have worded it a lot different because I love my fans, and there’s not very many other people out there that are as personable as me — fan-friendly, open to signing autographs — as me.  My tweet didn’t come across right, so hopefully they forgive me someday.”

He made some amends Saturday via his sixth runner-up of the season and maintained a one-point lead over Truex in the Cup standings with eight races left in the regular season.

“Never got to see (Truex) that last run; he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us,” Larson said. “That was pretty crazy. He has definitely been the fastest car all year.  So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”