Kyle Larson likes progress of his cars but says team needs to improve

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Kyle Larson’s path to a championship is quite clear.

He sees his cars getting faster — he led 284 laps last week at Darlington before finishing third after he was beat off pit road by Brad Keselowski. Monday, Larson felt he had another strong car but issues on pit road and on the track left him with a 14th-place effort.

“I feel like we had a third-to-fifth-place car, so that is good,” Larson told NBC Sports after the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’re still horrible on pit road. That’s discouraging. We’ll clean it up. I made mistakes on pit road as well. So I wasn’t happy with myself and my performance on pit road, but our pit crew needs to be better if we want to win the championship.”

Larson’s day turned after a pit stop when some cars did not pit toward the end of the race. That put Larson in the middle of the pack. He said the inside line was stacked up on a restart and he suffered damage to the front end of his car and the hood.

“I was super slow on the straightaways after that and would get ate up and passed after that,” Larson said. “I was tight in the corners after that. That last little run didn’t work out for us.

“Wish we wouldn’t have gotten all stacked up there into (Turn) 1 because I felt that I maybe could have drove maybe up to the top five. Disappointed with that but happy with the speed we had in the car. We didn’t have the dominant speed that we had last week, but we were competitive. Better than we were a month ago. So I’m excited about the playoffs.”