Kyle Larson put in a winning effort at Kentucky Speedway, but he didn’t leave with the trophy.
Larson had to drive through the field after negating his 18th-place qualifying effort because he missed driver introductions. He would chalk the penalty up to a miscommunication.
What could not be explained by the No. 42 team was why the car’s trackbar failed. It was a costly failure as Larson went from contending within the top five with eventual winner Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick to losing his track position again when the team took extra time during his final pit stop, trying to offset the trackbar with what NBCSN said was 14 rounds of wedge.
Larson’s car went tight because the trackbar went down five and a half inches on its own. Nothing the driver did could get it to move back up. Still, Larson fought until the race’s end and even gained a few positions to finish ninth.
“It’s hard to say if I would have had anything to win,” Larson lamented. “I drove by the 78 [winner Truex Jr.] and then right after that we had our trackbar issue there and went plowing tight.
“Then we had to crutch it with wedge there the last run, and it drove OK, just back really tight at the last 25 laps or so. So, yeah, it’s hard to say if I would have won or not, but I would have at least liked to have had the shot.”
Despite starting in the rear, Larson earned stage points in the first round by working his way to eighth. He then finished fifth in the second stage.
While he sits comfortably inside the playoff field, Larson has still not won a race this season or earned any playoff points. Kentucky, meanwhile, ended up being another race where one of the drivers from the “Big 3” went to victory lane and added to their playoff total — another reason Larson was left wondering what could have been.
“It’s frustrating because I feel like I had a car capable of competing with them,” he said.