Both Ganassi drivers fail to advance in NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase

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Both Ganassi drivers fail to advance in NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Oct 2, 2016, 10:33 PM

Kyle Larson, considered by many to be serious contender for the Sprint Cup Series championship this season, experienced disaster in Sunday’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Chip Ganassi Racing Chase drivers: Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Things didn’t go much better for his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray, either.

Both were among the four Chase drivers lowest in points without a win following the race and eliminated from title contention as the 16-driver field was cut to 12.

Things just got worse for Larson

Larson ran into trouble early in the race when his No. 42 Chevrolet lost power and he was forced to pit to change his battery. On the pit stop, his team was penalized for having too many members over the wall.

Larson immediately went three laps down and then hit the wall on Lap 183 of 400 after blowing a right-front tire. He ended up 25th and six laps off the pace.

“There wasn’t much we could do. I cut the right-front tire down and got in the wall and still had good speed in the race car after that but it just didn’t work out,” Larson said. “Our team has come a long way this season from where we started the year.

“We were pretty awful at the start of the season but then got a win at Michigan to lock ourselves in the Chase. That was good. I know we have the speed to have made it past a couple of rounds but it’s my typical luck I guess, where it just doesn’t work out.”

Engine woes for McMurray

McMurray fell off the pace on Lap 169 and said he believed he had lost a cylinder. Already off the lead lap, McMurray’s race came to an abrupt end on Lap 194 when his engine let go in a plume of white smoke.

Larson entered the race in the final transfer spot, holding a five-point advantage over Austin Dillon and McMurray, who were tied for 13th-place.

“It vibrated earlier in the race and it went away. And it’s weird because engine issues usually don’t go away,” McMurray said in the garage. “It felt like it had power and then I don’t know about 40 laps before it finally blew up, it just started vibrating real bad. Very unfortunate. It is just the way it goes.

“The No. 42 had their problem early in the race and then at that point I’m like, ‘Well it’s kind of Austin (Dillon) and I that are going to battle this out.’ Our cars are pretty close so this is going to be a pretty good battle down to the end.’ ”

Frustrated with Sunday’s race and his last-place finish, McMurray still tried to find a positive.

“I’m proud of our whole organization from where we started the year to the point that we are at right now where you run in the top 10 every week,” he said. “Kyle won at Michigan, we just have had great cars and it stinks that it ended this way, but it is what it is.”

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