CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston
TEAM: Chip Ganassi Racing
WINS: 4 (Fontana, both Michigan races, Richmond 2)
LAPS LED: 1,352
TOP 5s: 15
TOP 10s: 20
POLES: 3 (Fontana, Michigan 1, Sonoma)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Larson came into his own and enjoyed his best Cup season to date in 2017. However, he could have – and should have – had more wins, as he also had eight runner-up finishes. Still, Larson finally became the driver many had always anticipated him to become. At the same time, he also became a legitimate contender for the Cup championship. If you think he was good in 2017, look out for what he does in 2018.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Larson couldn’t have picked a worst time to finish 39th, 37th, 37th and 40th – his four-worst finishes of the season – in four of the last five races of the playoffs. As a result, he failed to qualify for the Championship 4 round. He managed to bounce back to finish third in the season-ending race at Miami and eighth overall in the final season standings.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018: As good as he was in 2017, Larson has the prospect to be even better in 2018 – particularly if he can turn runner-up finishes into more wins. He’ll likely be one of several preseason favorites to reach the Championship 4 round. … Larson will also have a new primary sponsor. Gone is Target, in is Credit One.