After losing the lead with six laps to go and finishing second to Kyle Busch at Bristol, a frustrated Kyle Larson headed back to his motorhome.
He was greeted by son Owen, who had a question for him.
“Did you get me some Skittles?’ ‘’ Owen asked.
Even though the candy sponsors Busch, Larson admits he managed to smile at his son’s request.
‘That wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it kind of lightened the mood, so it helps to get over it a little bit,’’ Larson said Friday at Richmond Raceway.
The runner-up finish for Larson marked the third time he’s finished second to Busch in a Cup race (2014 Auto Club Speedway, 2017 New Hampshire and 2018 Bristol).
Larson enters this weekend having won the most recent race at Richmond. He took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with five laps to go on pit road and held on in overtime to win in September.
“Typically this hasn’t been a good race track for me, but for whatever reason, the last time we were here we were about a top-three car all race long,’’ said Larson, who starts tonight’s race fifth. “Truex was really fast. But, I was a little bit lucky there at the end with a caution to beat him off pit road and get the win. I think that adds a little bit of confidence coming back here.
“Even though I’ve struggled in the past, I enjoy this track because it is different than what we typically go to.”
Larson enters the weekend with three top-three finishes this season, including the Bristol result.
“I feel like our short track program has become really competitive over the last few years,’’ he said. “Aside from Martinsville, I don’t even know if our package is good or bad there; I think I’m just not very good there. But, for us to get a couple top-two finishes here at Richmond now the last couple of years, at a track that I struggle a lot at, I think says a lot about our short track program. Even Bristol, I think Bristol is my best race track, but a few years ago I would just kind of run around eighth to 12th. But now lately, I’ve been able to lead the most laps and get close to wins.’’
Larson’s Bristol race also included a spin after contact with Ryan Newman but Larson doesn’t blame Newman for the incident.
“I get along with Newman,’’ Larson said. “The line that I run in (Turns) 3 and 4 throughout a run is really fast, but I can get myself in trouble if people poke their nose in on me. That’s the second time I’ve gotten spun by running that line, so I think I just need to be a little more cautious. I don’t think he did anything wrong there. It was getting somewhat toward the end of the race. You’re trying to race for lead-lap spots. So, I cut it a little too close, I think, and ran across his front end.”