Chip Ganassi feels really bad and wants you to know it.
The owner of Chip Ganassi Racing took to Twitter Sunday evening to apologize for Kyle Larson’s early exit from the Hollywood Casino 400 and subsequent elimination from the playoffs.
Who could blame him for feeling this way. Of all the storylines coming out of Kansas, Larson’s was the stunner. He had 14 top-5 finishes including 4 wins coming into Sunday’s race. Stood 3rd in the standings and was almost a lock to advance to the round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff barring the unthinkable. Then the unthinkable happened.
Just 60 laps into the race, Larson had engine trouble. He had dropped a cylinder. Five laps later he brought the #42 into pit road hoping for a miracle. Back on the track and on lap 77, Larson’s engine blew, the first time in 139 Cup events with CGR that that had happened to Larson. It ended his race and ultimately ended a chance at his first title.
“I hate that we blew an engine and blew our shot at the championship, but luck is a big factor of our sport,” Larson told Autoweek.com.
What may have made it worse is that Larson had to sit and watch and hope for a different miracle. He needed Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson both to have a worse day so he could sneak through to the next round. Kenseth did, getting disqualified for too many crew members over the pit wall, but Johnson had the luck Larson spoke of. He survived two spinouts with minimal damage and narrowly missed a multi-car wreck late in the race.
“I guess I’m not stunned because freak things happen in every sport,” Larson said. “I mean you look at every year in the past and a lot of times, most every time at least in the new Playoff format era, not always does the best team win.”
Larson is keeping his optimism despite the massive disappointment. He tweeted out to his fans Sunday night a great perspective to keep in mind…that there’s a lot of racing left for a 25-year-old Cup star.