Larson misses out in another entertaining Chicagoland finish

Image by LaBounty/LAT

Larson misses out in another entertaining Chicagoland finish

NASCAR

Larson misses out in another entertaining Chicagoland finish

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Kyle Larson was once again part of an entertaining finish at Chicagoland Speedway, but for the second straight year he came out on the losing end.

A furious battle with Alex Bowman over the last 10 laps saw Larson take the lead with eight laps to go. Having watched leader Bowman struggle getting through lapped traffic and quickly closing the gap to him, Larson was confident Bowman’s No. 88 would get loose in the dirty air behind his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

That thought and Larson’s lead were both short-lived. Bowman charged back with six laps to go and then pulled away.

That thought and Larson’s lead were both short-lived. Bowman charged back with six laps to go and then pulled away.

“He (Bowman) could get big runs on me down the straightaways and I think that allowed him to get that run into (Turn) 1. He got to my inside, and I got a little bit tight,” Larson said. “I don’t know if him getting air on my spoiler or something got me tight, but I had to kind of breathe it a little bit and then we side-drafted on the backstretch.

Larson: “I wish I would have maybe done some things different…” Image by Kinrade/LAT

“I wish I would have maybe done some things different into (Turn) 3 instead of going all the way to (the) wall — maybe chase him to (the) bottom, just try to hang on his quarter. But he might have cleared me anyways down there.

“I wish I could have got a win for McDonald’s, got them to victory lane, but still a good day. Great day for Chevy and Hendrick engines. That was really cool to see a lot of us Hendrick engine guys up front and kind of drafting and breaking away from the groups behind us on the short runs.”

Larson finished behind one Hendrick driver, Bowman, and ahead of another, Jimmie Johnson, who was fourth. William Byron was eighth, Chase Elliott 11th, and Larson’s teammate Kurt Busch was 13th. Both Ganassi teams run Hendrick engines.

All six drivers spent time running inside the top 10, and at one point it was Bowman leading Johnson with Larson third, Byron seventh, and Busch ninth.

Larson, who qualified 14th, led seven laps Sunday afternoon.

“I felt good about my car on the long runs,” Larson said. “If I was out in clean air, I think we just had a lot of downforce and drag — I just felt slow in clean air. But when I could get behind people I was okay and then could just wait until we got laps on tires; then I could start making ground.

“Was actually surprised I even got to (Bowman). I thought when he came out about the same distance off pit road in front of me that he was just going to check out. But, like I said, he was struggling, and we were able to get to him and get by him.

“He did a good job, regrouping and figuring out how to make his car drive better, and got the win. So … cool to see him get the win there. Would have liked for him to wait another week or so, but happy for him. He’s an open‑wheel guy, so cool to see.”

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