By Jerry Jordan, Editor
LAS VEGAS – Despite getting caught up in a fuel mileage debacle during Stage 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson was able to maintain a 14-point lead in NASCAR’s Cup Series Playoffs heading into a wildcard race next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
“We were on the crap end of that where we just didn’t do a good job and we stayed out and had to pit when them guys were able to stretch it and then we went a lap down,” Larson said, who brought his car home 10th place. “We just did a poor job executing there in the second stage and got ourselves trapped a lap down and had to do the wave around. Being on old tires for half the lap stage, it was hard to battle our way through being at a tire disadvantage. I don’t know.
“We just had to fight and ended up 10th … would have liked to have been better, so I feel like we gave up a good bit of points but it’s nice that we’re a good bit ahead.”
Larson is pretty much a lock to move on to the next round of the playoffs baring disastrous finishes over the next two weeks. He came into Las Vegas with a 30-point lead over then-second place contender, Martin Truex Jr. and his cushion on Hamlin is somewhat irrelevant because Hamlin won Sunday’s race and that locks him into the next round. The next viable contender in this round of the playoffs is Kyle Busch, who is trailing Larson by 22 points.
Looking ahead a week, he said the finish tonight does “not really” affect how he approaches Talladega.