Kyle Larson on Kansas: ‘Another day where I lead a lot of laps and don’t win’


Kyle Larson pointed the finger squarely at himself after a potential win got away Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

On the final restart with two laps to go, Larson lined up second on the outside lane behind Ryan Blaney, who was on the front row beside Kyle Busch.

But as the field worked through Turns 1 and 2, Larson turned Blaney sideways as they tried to catch Busch. Blaney saved it, while Larson went into the Turn 2 wall.

Busch went on to win. Larson and Blaney finished 19th and 21st, respectively.

Afterwards, Larson owned up to his mistake.

“I just lined up behind Blaney and my plan was just to push him as hard as I could and try to be with him on the backstretch to shove him and hopefully get those guys racing in front of me or potentially get inside or outside for the lead somehow,” he said.

“I just planned on pushing him really hard, and obviously, I did that and got him sideways and ended up getting us both in the wall. Probably should’ve just laid off once I got to the corner and, hopefully, a run came to where I could get to his back bumper on the backstretch.

“Hate that I screwed that up and cost ourselves a good finish.”

MORE: Kansas Cup race results

Larson had the strongest car on the afternoon, leading a race-high 132 laps.

He looked poised for his second victory this season when he pressured Denny Hamlin into tagging the Turn 4 wall and took the lead with 25 laps to go. Hamlin subsequently had a right-front tire failure and hit the wall again to bring out a caution with 22 laps to go.

He retained the lead through another restart, only to have another yellow ensue with 14 laps to go for an incident involving Austin Cindric and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Things started to unravel for Larson on the next restart with 10 laps to go. Busch got a jump on Larson to take the lead and Blaney also passed him for second before another crash slowed the race with nine laps to go.

Larson said he knew he was in trouble then.

“I didn’t want to be on the second row the final restart,” he recalled. “I had Brad (Keselowski) lined up behind me the one before, and he wasn’t able to get to my back bumper.

“He had to protect from the guys behind him trying to pull out of line, so just got our lane slowed up, and yeah, just didn’t work out.”

Since earning a playoff berth with his March win at Las Vegas, Larson and his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team had already endured several setbacks before Sunday.

At Atlanta, Larson rolled the field to the tune of a race-high 269 laps led, only to have Blaney pass him for the win with nine laps to go.

The following week on the dirt at Bristol – a race where he was one of the favorites to win – he was swept up in an early crash and limped to a 29th-place finish with a heavily damaged car.

Last week at Talladega, he was knocked out after just three laps with a blown engine.

Then came Sunday, which ended up being his fourth finish of 18th of worse in the last five races. The outlier is a fifth-place run at Martinsville Speedway.

It all seems to have led Larson to dwell on the negatives more than the positives from his first 11 races with Hendrick Motorsports.

“We’ve got one win. Could have four or five,” Larson said on the subject. “Just another day where I lead a lot of laps and don’t win. Just got to figure it out.”

NASCAR weekend schedule at Gateway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – Noon — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – Noon — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • Noon – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.