Playoff driver Kyle Larson will be trying to win his first Cup championship while dealing with pain through the last four races of the season.
After sustaining the injury in an Oct. 14 crash at Talladega Superspeedway, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver raced through the pain Sunday at Kansas Speedway before getting X-rays this past week that confirmed a lower rib fracture.
“It still hurts,” Larson told reporters Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. “I modified my seat quite a bit this week. I feel good in the car this week (at Martinsville) because the G forces, you don’t really have any. My ribs feel fine in there. Maybe at Texas (next weekend), they’ll feel a little worse. Just something I’m kind of going to have to deal with the rest of the season. Stinks but we’ll get through.
“We’ve worked on our insert and seat belts and just trying to make it a little more comfy for me.”
Larson said NASCAR had cleared him to race before the X-rays. “It’s just going to be a little painful at times,” he said.
After qualifying 14th, Larson will be trying to end a string of mediocre finishes at Martinsville to begin making a charge at reaching the championship round. He has one top 10 (a third in the April 3, 2016 race) in 11 stars on the 0.526-mile oval.
“We’ve just been playing with some things and trying to get better here at Martinsville,” said Larson, who advanced to the Round of 8 with his Oct. 6 victory at Dover International Speedway. “Been doing a lot of studying and have changed up things I’ve been doing in the car, so we’ll see if it pays off tomorrow. I still feel a little a little out of control, but we’ve been working hard. Hopefully it pays off.
“Once it gets past halfway, that’s usually when I start to struggle. Hopefully, tomorrow is a little different.”