2018 Cup Season in Review: Kyle Larson

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Kyle Larson

CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston

TEAM: Chip Ganassi Racing

POINTS: Ninth

WINS: None; best finish of second six times (Auto Club, Bristol I and II, Pocono I, Chicagoland and Las Vegas II)

LAPS LED:  782 (Second-best behind 1,352 in 2017)

TOP 5s: 12 (Second-best behind 15 in 2017)

TOP 10s: 19 (Second-best behind 20 in 2017)

POLES: Three (Dover I, Sonoma and Bristol II; tied for his career best with 2017)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Was the top finishing Chevrolet driver seven times in the first half of the season, the most for the manufacturer … Finished on the lead lap in 29 of 31 races in which he did not sustain crash damage or an engine failure … Qualified in the top 10 in nine consecutive unrestricted races to start the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Sustained crash damage in three of four restrictor-plate races … After the mid-point of the season, was never able to string three or more top 10s together; scored only three top 10s in the final eight races … In addition to his six runner-up results, he finished third four times, which may have contributed to some frustration in the closing races.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019: Should qualify for his fourth consecutive playoff appearance. If he can show more consistency in the first three rounds, his ability to run the high line at Homestead-Miami Speedway will make him a title contender … Hopes to return to dominance on the two-mile tracks of Auto Club and Michigan where he had six consecutive top-three finishes (including his first four career wins) in 2016 – 2018.