Kyle Larson would like his No. 42 team to make the same gains the Hendrick Motorsports camp has in recent weeks. From a speed standpoint, Hendrick has shown an uptick in performance recently, and Larson feels it has overtaken his Chip Ganassi Racing group.
But the good news is that Larson, the defending race winner at Michigan and victor of three of the last four races there, says “our stuff” is getting better every week. Vital, as the playoffs are now less than a handful of weeks away.
“So far today has been really good, so I’m happy about that,” Larson said after practice, when he was eighth-quickest. “We just keep getting better, and there are some good tracks for us in the playoffs. If we could just get some luck one of these times in the playoffs, maybe we can make a run at the championship.
“So, we’ve just got to keep working hard and thinking about what it takes to get better and better every week. I feel like we have the right group of people at the racetrack and the race shop that we can do that. It’s all about just progressing and getting better. We are definitely doing that, but there are other teams that maybe have made a bigger step than we have.”
Through much of the early part of the season, it was Larson who had led the way for the Chevrolet camp. As teams tried to wrap their heads around the new Camaro body, Larson said that it hasn’t felt much different to him, and he was in regular contention to win races, leading 355 laps in the first 12 weekends.
On the flipside, Larson has led just 10 laps in the last 10 races, and his shootout with Kyle Busch at Chicago is the closest he’s been to victory lane.
Larson says there isn’t necessarily sharing within the Chevy camp aside from engine data. What has helped Hendrick recently, according to Larson, is the addition of an Optical Scanning Station (used by NASCAR at the track for inspection) atitsrace shop. Using one in-house helps teams get a better idea of where the tolerances are, and what areas to be working around.
Chip Ganassi Racing should have one coming its way soon, said Larson.
“You can definitely see that they’ve gotten a lot better here recently and I think that talking to some people on my team, it sounds like they’ve gotten their [OSS] finally, maybe a month and a half or so ago,” said Larson. “So, they’ve finally been able to learn where they can push the limits on things.
“It sounds like maybe we have [one] coming, so I’m really excited about that. Hopefully, we can get it up and running before the playoffs start.”
Larson qualified 17th for the Consumers Energy 400.