Kyle Larson continued to shoulder the blame for his Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series team having to work much harder recently.
For the second straight week, Larson will compete in a backup No. 42 Chevrolet after crashing in practice. Saturday morning at Pocono Raceway, Larson said he got loose and overcorrected in the Tunnel Turn, leading to him slamming the outside wall and spinning and hitting the inside wall.
Having previously been scheduled for a media center appearance that took place after opening practice and his crash, Larson took on all the hard questions. Given his recent run of mistakes, and how mistakes and other issues have seemingly hindered his season, Larson said he doesn’t remember ever having a year like this, although he recalled similarities to his sophomore season.
“I mean 2015, I don’t really remember that year — I don’t really want to remember that year, but I just remember it being bad,” he said. “I don’t know if we crashed a lot then or what. Just lately it’s been a lot of mistakes on my part. Early in the year, it was bad luck or whatever you want to call it, but lately, it’s my fault.”
Larson had five DNFs in 2015 and an average finish of 19.3.
On the eve of the 21st race of the NASCAR Cup Series season with the Gander RV 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Larson sits 13th in the standings and in position to make the playoffs. But he already has five DNFs, and just a 31-point advantage on the cutline.
“Too aggressive probably at the wrong time,” said Larson. “Just got to work on that and not make mistakes. Just hate it for everybody that I’m affecting from it — my guys on the 42 and even there’s guys on the 1 (of teammate Kurt Busch) that are helping out. They shouldn’t have to do that. So, just got to stop messing up.”
“I feel like I’ve always done a good job of just moving on and trying to forget — learn from what you did, but move on and forget about it and just do better next time,” he continued. “Obviously you have to be a little cautious now that you don’t have a backup car. We’ll be fine.”
In a backup car at New Hampshire a week ago, Larson looked to be making a nice recovery in the race before crashing again. Running inside the top 10, Larson make a bold move to the inside of Alex Bowman on a restart and put himself in a bad position going into Turn 1.
“I had a really good car, so I wish I would have been more patient,” he said. “Obviously, he threw the block on me, but that’s part of restarts there. I was just trying to stay to his inside so he couldn’t get to the very bottom to the VHT (sealant), but my angle was bad, and I ran into the corner a little too far and got to the brakes harder because I ran into the corner hard, and just landed on the splitter and got tight and ran into him. Yeah, just mad at myself after that because I gave up a lot of points.”
Larson did get on track in final practice with his backup car. However, he will have to drop to the rear of the field for the start of the race.