Kyle Larson’s playoff hopes in jeopardy after losing engine early at Kansas

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Kyle Larson‘s chances of advancing to the third round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs were all but dashed near the end of Stage 1 Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

The engine on his No. 42 Chevrolet expired four laps from the end of the segment after Larson came to pit road on Lap 65 with engine issues.

“I felt it drop a cylinder or something,” Larson told NBCSN. “Disappointing way to finish our race and probably our season. But we’ll be alright.”

Larson entered the elimination race third in the standings, 29 points above the cutoff.

After the visit to pit road, he was 10th in the standings, more than 15 points back from the cutoff. He will finish the race in 39th.

“Obviously, I’m going to watch (the rest of the race,) cross my fingers,” Larson said. “Pray to anything I can pray to. I don’t think 29 points is enough. Disappointing, but we’ve had a good year.”

It is Larson’s first DNF since the Brickyard 400, but his second poor finish in a row. He finished 12th, a lap down last week at Talladega after being involved in a crash.

He started the round with a 10th-place finish at Charlotte.