Kyle Larson on the race at Kansas Speedway with Kyle Busch: “I held Kyle up for like a hundred laps.”
Kyle Busch ran 2nd and Larson ran 3rd at Kansas Speedway on Sunday; Larson isn’t happy to miss the playoffs but he’s glad it wasn’t ‘something stupid’ that took him out this year
The race on Sunday at Kansas Speedway was an important one. Not just because it was a cutoff race in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR playoffs. Kansas is similar to Texas Motor Speedway, a race in the Round of 8. It’s also similar to Homestead Miami Speedway, the championship race.
That should give Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch confidence heading into the next round. Kyle Busch gave it his all to run down Elliott in the closing laps. After shaving off several seconds to Elliott’s lead he came up just short.
Kyle Busch brushed the wall several times in his climb to the front. But, “That’s what it takes when you’re on the ragged edge here.”
“This is a mile and a half race track. So, it’s important to be good at these places,” Kyle Busch stated from the media center following his runner-up finish at KansasSpeedway.
“Especially hear because it’s getting closer to Homestead. With Texas being a fast mile and a half, there’s some tenancies that are similar.”
“We had a good day. We were trying to chase down Chase there at the end. We were close. We were kinda there and then the car died out. Just didn’t have any more to go. I was afraid that was gonna happen.”
“He was really good when we tested here. So, we knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Before the race, I spoke with him a little bit. He was kinda leery about how his car was. I told him that he was going to be fine.”
“It looked like our cars were really similar. Just as similar as when we tested here together. It didn’t surprise me that he was that fast.”
Hard to pass
“Track position played a role. It just seemed like it was so hard to pass once everybody got around the top and was rolling the wall,” Kyle Busch explained.
Meanwhile, Kyle Larson was fighting a loose condition on his machine. As the run went along the car would tighten up and he’d go a little quicker.
“The track was just so fast,” Larson stated. “Even the runs where I thought I was good. You just can’t make up any time because everybody’s quick. When you’re faster than somebody, you just get stuck.”
“I held Kyle up for like a hundred laps,” Larson said with a laugh as Kyle Busch sat next to him at the podium. “I think the cool conditions just made it tough to pass today.”
Kansas Speedway a very wide 1.5-mile track. So, how do drivers run out of racing room? That’s more of a lane specific issue. If the field is running the wall, it’s hard to beat that momentum. Sure, the bottom is there. But, it’s not going to work.
And the problems only get worse the longer you’re behind another driver. The downforce is removed from the nose of the trailing car. That makes the front end light which makes a driver burn up the front tires at a faster rate.
“Like Larson said, once you get rolling around the top, it was just so fast that it was hard to go anywhere on the race track to make passes,” Kyle Busch mirrored the thoughts of Larson. “When we tested here a month or so ago, we tested the top, a lot. We knew that was kinda be the place to be.”
“I felt like we were one of the best cars up there all day long. The problem is when you get to the next guy in front of you and you’re running the top, he moved up in front of you. There’s nowhere for you to go.”
“You can’t dive bomb to the bottom. Your front tires are used up.”
Early in the run after the final pit stop, Kyle Busch was taking it easy. He was attempting to save his tires for late in the race.
“It just didn’t materialize anyway. The #9 just had way too much of a gap that we couldn’t overcome.”
Larson is out of the playoffs
Kyle Larson has missed the cutoff in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs. He had one of the fastest cars in the field earlier in the season. But, the field caught up to CGR.
“I’m actually glad that nothing stupid took us out of the playoffs this year. We had that battery come out at Dover a couple years ago. We blew up an engine here last year.”
“Obviously, I would have like to have made it into the next round. But, I’m glad it wasn’t anything other than us just not performing.”
“I guess we’ll just try and figure out this new package that we’re running next year and try to be prepared.”