With regular-season title won, Larson 'now can look forward' to the playoffs

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With regular-season title won, Larson 'now can look forward' to the playoffs

NASCAR

With regular-season title won, Larson 'now can look forward' to the playoffs

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Kyle Larson didn’t get the finish he wanted at Daytona International Speedway, but he accomplished the primary goal of winning the regular-season championship.

“The race went well until the last lap,” Larson said. “We didn’t get any stage points the first stage, and the 11 [Denny Hamlin] did. I felt like after thinking about it a little bit more, if I could just kind of follow him and stay close to him in the second stage, he wouldn’t gain much on me. It actually ended up where I beat him in the second stage, and that gave me a little bit more comfort going into the final one.

“We were able to dodge a couple of wrecks. (Hamlin) actually got collected in one of them. Then it was kind of go for the win at that point. Just things didn’t work out for me in the green-white-checkered.”

Larson was collected in the wreck on the final lap and finished 20th.

“Bummer that we didn’t get to finish well, but we accomplished the goal going into tonight, which was coming away with the regular-season title,” he said. “Got those 15 bonus points. Now, we can look forward to the next 10 weeks and hopefully get some more wins.”

Five wins and 52 playoff points put Larson at the top of the re-seeded playoff grid. Tied with Denny Hamlin for the points lead after Watkins Glen, Larson took sole possession of it after Indianapolis. The two were separated by 28 points going into the regular-season finale at Daytona.

This is the first time Larson has won the regular-season championship, and as such, the highest he has been seeded going into the postseason.

“I think there’s a lot of good tracks for us,” Larson said. “I don’t know which ones, specifically. I feel like we have a shot to win anywhere right now. That’s encouraging.

“I really just look forward to getting it started next week, kind of getting into the flow of that, racing in the playoffs against multiple other drivers chasing points and wins. I feel good about it.”

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