Kyle Larson dominated at Kansas Speedway but was left with a fourth-place finish and a car that will face the scrutiny of NASCAR inspectors this week.
The No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet had a clear dent in its rear window as well as what seemed to be damage where the window meets the roof. NASCAR captured the car on pit road Saturday night after the KC Masterpiece and announced it would be taken to the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina for further inspection.
Any penalty would be announced during the week. And a precedence has already been set this year with NASCAR penalizing two cars, both from Stewart-Haas Racing, for not having a rigid rear window.
Larson, however, believes the cause of his window dent came when he suffered damage while making contact with Ryan Blaney on Lap 249. There was also damage done to the left-rear fender.
“Oh, definitely because I didn’t have it until after Blaney and I got together,” Larson said. “So, I’m glad to see that we have a lot of damage back there because obviously if there was no damage back there we would probably get a penalty, and who knows, we might still.
“But I’ve got a ton of damage back there. These cars are pretty rigid and one piece of damage can affect the whole rest of the car, as you can see. So, we’ll what NASCAR says about it, but I think it’s pretty obvious that we have a ton of damage back there.”
Blaney took the blame for the contact, which sent his Team Penske machine to the garage and a DNF. Larson pitted with a tire rub and then had to make a second pit stop to tighten the lug nuts on the left rear.
One more caution for a multicar wreck helped Larson regain some of his track position.
Larson led 101 laps after starting from the rear. A spin in qualifying resulted in the team having to change tires, but Larson quickly charged through the field and was inside the top 10 before the race hit the 20-lap mark.
Fifth in the first stage, Larson won the second stage.
“We just had a really good car tonight; our Clover Chevrolet was fast,” said Larson. “I always run pretty good here at Kansas, so it was nice to lead some laps. I thought we were going to have a really good shot to win there, and Kevin [Harvick] was able to get to my outside. I was tight in traffic there then Blaney was side-drafting really hard and I was as high as I could get and we made contact.
“I hate that we didn’t turn today into a win, but it’s satisfying to see how much speed our car had tonight. And it’s definitely good to show that Chevy has a lot of speed, at least in the 42 team. So, we’ll just keep working hard and try to get it as fast as the 4. I thought myself, the 4 and the 12 were all pretty equal tonight. It was kind of just whoever got out in clean air and could get to the top quick enough would be the fastest throughout the run. It was a fun race but a little bit disappointing there in the last 20 laps.”