Larson comes up short: "I hate that I keep letting my team down"

The disappointments are growing for Kyle Larson, but so are the improved performances.

Larson comes up short: "I hate that I keep letting my team down"
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Drivers advancing to All-Star race: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford crash
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford race winner

Larson began a long day Saturday by winning his way into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race with a fender-to-fender battle with Chase Elliott, then found himself with an opportunity to win the $1 million prize late in the main event in a side-by-side battle with Joey Logano.

After a daring move to take the lead on the start of the final 13-lap segment at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Larson was unable to hold off Logano, who eventually got around him for the lead with three laps remaining.

To make matters worse, Larson ended up slamming into the wall and ended the race in the garage.

“I was the leader with five or less to go and (Logano) got by, so I feel I lost it,” Larson said in the garage after the race. “He took the air off me a couple times, which is totally cool. We were racing hard. He did an awesome job side-drafting me down the frontstretch.”

Becoming a real threat

In recent weeks, Larson and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team have become a serious contender for race wins. Last week at Dover, Del., Larson battled down the stretch with eventual winner Matt Kenseth.

“I have to thank everyone at the race shop for working hard, for getting our race cars a lot better. It’s fun to run up front and run for wins – I just got to figure out how to do it,” Larson said. “It was a fun race.

“I just wish I could have done things different there at the end. I was doing all I could I thought at that time but Joey was just a little bit better and he was able to out-race me. I thought I was better than him most of the race. I feel matter, but it feels good to have fast race cars right now.”

Larson’s victory in the final segment of the Sprint Showdown earlier Saturday nearly proved very costly as he suffered serious damage to his No. 42 Chevrolet with the battle with Elliott.

Close, but no cigar

His team elected not to go to a backup car – which would have likely moved him to the rear of the field to start the race – and instead worked furiously to repair his car.

“I’m super disappointed. I hate that I keep letting my team down. They did everything right. They worked their tails off after I got all the damage in the Showdown,” Larson said.

“We had a really, really good (car) and were able to get to the front pretty quick there to be in the best position possible there for the last restart. I got clear right away and thought I could cruise.”

Logano called the final laps “a crazy battle.”

“I tell you, Larson is a hard racer. I watched him in the Showdown earlier today and I knew what I was up against,” he said. “I knew he was going to run hard. I’m a hard racer, I knew it was going to be a fun battle for sure.”

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