As rookie Kyle Larson continues to knock on the door of his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race victory, it’s clear that sooner or later he will kick it down entirely.
Larson, pilot of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet, finished second to Joey Logano in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, the second time in the last three races he’s been the race runner-up and his third top-five finish in the first four races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
During the Chase, Larson has amassed an average finish of 3.25, which trails only Logano’s remarkable 2.50 average.
Of course, there is one big difference between the two young bucks: Logano is racing for a championship and Larson isn’t, because the rookie went winless during the 26-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season.
Still, it’s been a fantastic season for Larson, who is a virtual lock to win Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors. Larson is now 17th in points, tops among the non-Chase drivers.
Sunday at Kansas, Larson had another excellent outing, applying late-race pressure to Logano, crossing the finish line just 0.479 seconds behind the winner. The combination of lapped traffic and the dreaded aero push made getting by Logano at the end impossible.
"It was a good race," said Larson, who now has eight top-five and 15 top-10 finished on the year. "I thought me and Joey (Logano) were dead even there at the end. It was hard for me to gain on him. We would go within a hundredth of each other it seemed like on every lap. I was able to close on him at one point, but just couldn’t do anything."
Larson said the disparity in speed in the two racing lines made his task difficult in the closing laps.
"The bottom was a lot slower than the top, so I had to kind of follow him and hope he made a mistake," Larson said of Logano. "He almost made one mistake there with seven (laps) to go and then he got back into rhythm."
Still, it was another outstanding race and another indication that the first Sprint Cup race victory that Larson covets is not far away.
"Good finish," said Larson. "We’ll get some wins here soon hopefully before the end of the year, and I think once we get one, we should be up here more often as a winner."
VIDEO: Kyle Larson finishes second at Kansas Speedway