The driver with the fastest car at the season finale at Homestead wasn’t eventual champion Martin Truex Jr. It wasn’t Kyle Busch. In fact, it wasn’t any driver in the Championship 4.
Instead, it was Kyle Larson. Larson has led the most laps at Homestead the last two seasons, and if he hadn’t suffered engine failure earlier in the 2017 postseason, he might’ve won the championship.
But Larson was only racing for pride while Truex and Busch battled it out for the championship, and Larson recently admitted he made the decision to stay in third place instead of attempting to pass Busch.
“I think there were some laps I was faster than them,” Larson said via NBC Sports. “I obviously didn’t want to affect the outcome of the race. The only negative part of the (playoff) format is when you’re not in the final four, you can’t race your hardest.
“I don’t know if I would have won. I think I could have got to second and potentially the lead. I wanted to pass both of them quickly. I didn’t want to pass Kyle and then stall out for three laps and have him be upset or whatever.”
Larson led a race-high 145 laps at Homestead, and he had the best year of his career despite running into some bad luck in the playoffs.
When the 2018 season begins at Daytona, Larson will be among the favorites to win the championship. Kyle Busch is currently the favorite according to Vegas Insider, but Larson has the second best odds along with Truex and Kevin Harvick.
At the 2018 season finale at Homestead, there’s a good chance Larson won’t be holding anything back as he should be racing for his first championship.