Report card: Kyle Larson grades his 2016 NASCAR season

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Coming off the most successful year of his NASCAR career, it was a surprise just how hard Kyle Larson was on himself while grading his 2016 Premier Series season performance.

Even a college professor wouldn't have graded Larson and the No. 42 team as harshly.

“I would say all around – team and myself combined – I would say a B- or C+. Somewhere in that range,” Larson told FOXSports.com. “I feel like we outperformed where our expectations were after the first handful of races.”

In his third full year of Premier Series competition, the 24-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing driver made the Chase, earned his first career victory and collected 10 top fives and 15 top-10s finishes.

But Larson's grade is a testament to how much he expects out of himself and his team, which is one of the attributes of a talented driver.

“I was really proud of how well everyone in the shop worked to get our cars better,” Larson said. “I felt like I stepped up as a driver more so this than I have in the past. I led more laps, won a race, made the Chase and had a shot to win a few races, finished ninth in points. I felt like it was a good year and it could always be better, but for what we had to work with, I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Although his 2016 performance is more deserving of something better than a subpar grade, Larson feels his fair share of rotten luck brought the average down.

“I’ve had a lot of bad luck throughout my NASCAR career for whatever reason,” Larson said. “If we could just get rid of that bad luck, we would have a really, really good year.”

Overall, Larson was satisfied with the year, but he's already focusing on goals for 2017 and what can be improved to bump that grade up to an A next season.

“It’s a long regular season, so you just have to stay focused, get after it and hopefully get a win earlier in the year would be nice,” Larson said. “You have to be consistent, too.

“I definitely think we can make the Chase again next year. I think we know as a team what it takes to make it. I feel like I mature each year and each race. We just have to work hard.”

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