SPARTA, Kentucky — Kyle Larson climbed from his Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which was parked on pit road far away from the top five finishers and from victory lane.
A ninth-place result left the top-finishing Chevy driver to wonder what if Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
A trackbar failure dramatically changed the car’s handling late in the race and a car that had run toward the front struggled to finish in the top 10.
“It’s hard to say if I would have had anything to win,” Larson said. “I drove by (winner Martin Truex Jr.) and then right after that we had our trackbar issue there and went plowing tight. Then we had to crutch it with wedge there the last run … (and it was) really tight at the last 25 laps or so. So, yeah, it’s hard to say if I would have won or not, but I would have at least liked to have had the shot.”
Crew chief Chad Johnston said his options were limited when the trackbar failed.
“We know that the trackbar fell to the lowest position it could,” he said. “Why that happened, we’re still trying to figure out. Obviously when it fell, it tightens the car up and then we had to asses the situation if we could have fixed it. I don’t think we could have without losing a lap. So then we just adjusted the car around the trackbar being that low. At that point, we lost too much track position and way too late to overcome it.”
It was part of a challenging race for Larson, who relinquished his 18th starting spot and had to take the opening green flag from the rear of the field. He was penalized for missing driver introductions. Larson was running to the stage when he was called.
“A little miscommunication and was late to intros,” Larson said.
Even with that mishap, he was 18th by the 20th lap and was in the top 10 before the first stage ended. He finsihed eighth in the first stage and fifth in the second stage.
Larson was able to cut through the field at times by using an outside line most didn’t.
“I was surprised how quickly (Turns) 3 and 4 moved up,” Larson said. “I knew it would move up a little bit, and I didn’t know it would move up that far. So, I was happy about that. You could kind of roll a little more speed on exit. Was surprised that the track widened out. (Turns) 1 and 2 I thought had potential to, but it kind of just stalled out and got too tight. A lane off the bottom was just a little too tight. But yeah, it was a decent track.”