Connor McIntyre | June 6th, 2019
Back in 2017, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson emerged as one of the favorites to win the championship. He was leading in points for a lot of the season but ended up finishing eighth in the standings. During that season he had four wins, 15 top five finishes, 20 top 10 finishes, and five poles. He looked like a star on the rise at the time, but he hasn’t been able to match that season. And this year it’s only gotten worse.
Currently, Larson is sitting at 16th in the standings and is in danger of missing the playoffs. In 14 races he has four DNFs, one top-five finish, and four top ten finishes. He has had good runs, but they all usually come crashing down in the end. Last weekend at Pocono, Larson had won the previous two stages and was running fifth with nine laps to go before being turned into the wall by Clint Bowyer. He finished 26th and barely stayed in the top 16 for points. This situation is the story of his whole season. He usually looks like he’s doing well, he’s doing great or in a good spot and then it all goes to pieces. So why is Larson having such bad luck?
The first issue is his equipment. At Charlotte, Larson had won the All-Star Race the week before and was a favorite to win the Coca-Cola 600. He was running in the top five with 85 laps to go, but after front suspension issues and contact with Martin Truex Jr., he had fallen back and, eventually, spun out on his own taking out four other cars. If his equipment hadn’t shot him in the foot, He would have likely finished in the top five. The second issue is that he always finds himself in a bad spot. Whether it’s not being able to get to pit road with a flat like at Richmond, or being stuck in the middle of a pack with nowhere to go like at Talladega. At Richmond, if he had been able to get to pit road after making contact with Daniel Hemric and cutting down a tire, he wouldn’t have hit the wall and maybe he would’ve come back and had a better finish. At Talladega, he was in a tough situation, being surrounded by cars and not being able to get out. This eventually led to a huge crash where he barrel rolled across the backstretch.
He has the driving ability to get better finishes, but his team and equipment aren’t helping him. If he switched teams and went somewhere like Team Penske, he would be in a better situation. If Penske signed him he would have a better team, better equipment, and a team with a winning attitude. Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney would all provide more support and help than his only teammate Kurt Busch (not that Busch is bad, but more is more in this situation). Also, Penske’s manufacturer is Ford and Ganassi’s manufacturer is currently Chevy. As we’ve seen in the past few years Chevy has not been as much of a competitor for the championship as Ford and Toyota. Penske has much more to offer than Ganassi and can put Larson in a championship worthy car. Larson doesn’t have a lot at Ganassi and he deserves and can get better.
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