Kyle Larson in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet SS made it onto the podium at last weekend’s second round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Playoffs, although perhaps not in the position he’d have liked; Kyle Bush (No. 18 Toyota Camry) crossed the finish at the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 2.6 seconds ahead, claiming the win for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch, the polesitter, lead the race for an impressive 187 laps; fellow Toyota Camry driver and overall leader in the standings Martin Truex Jr. led for 112; and Larson maintained a lead for a single lap under caution.
“I kind of ran around third to fifth all race long,” Kyle Larson said after the race. “I felt like I wasn’t great on short runs, but I was really good on long runs, which was kind of opposite of practice. I was kind of happy about that. Got a good restart there at the end, got to second, and kept my pace up with Kyle a little bit there.
“But he could just get pointed a little bit better than me and get the throttle down where I would spin my tires a little bit. Too loose there on the short run, but if we could have had a long run, maybe who knows? But he was fast, [Truex] was fast, Matt [Kenseth] was really good, so I thought we were probably fourth best or so.”
The ISM Connect 300 was Larson’s eighth second-place finish in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season. He’s the only Chevrolet SS driver who managed to place among the top ten, with Toyota taking five of the ten best slots including first (Busch) and third (Kenseth), and Ford taking the remaining four.
Larson gets to remain in the Playoffs into round three this coming weekend: the Apache Warrior 400 presented by Lucas Oil, at Dover International Speedway.