Larson loses championship lead with first DNF of 2017

Kyle Larson suffered his first DNF of 2017 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway — and lost the points lead in the process.

Larson loses championship lead with first DNF of 2017
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Coke
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

After bouncing the No. 42 Chevy off of the wall on multiple occasions throughout the weekend, the former NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series point leader was dealt the final blow after cutting a right front tire. 

Larson slammed into Turn 2 with eight laps remaining in Stage 3 to ignite the seventh caution of the race. 

“I got really loose into (Turn) 3 and hit the wall and got a lot of damage and the tire started to go down and then exploded in (Turn) 1,” Larson said. “I just hate it that I made a mistake there in Turn 3 and got in the wall. 

“I was not even running hard up there. I just got loose and then I hit it and it ruined our day. I’m hoping to hold onto the point lead and then go to Dover next week and try to do better.”

Larson’s issues started on Thursday after wrecking in practice. The No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team repaired the car, however, they were unable to clear inspection in time to make a lap in Round 1 of qualifying. 

Larson started from the rear of the field. After the first caution on Lap 28, Larson had already climbed to 13th for the restart. He moved up into the top 10 over the next 15 laps and was sixth at the end of Stage 1. 

Larson restarted fourth for Stage 2. He was second behind race leader Martin Truex Jr., 24 laps into the segment but dropped to third after being passed by Jimmie Johnson. He was third when weather red-flagged the race on Lap 143. Following the one hour and 40-minute delay, the leaders pitted and Larson restarted fifth. He held on to finish ninth in the second stage.

Following pit stops between segments, Larson restarted sixth in Stage 3 but dropped to seventh after the first lap. Larson regained sixth, but calamity hit when a rear end gear failed on Ty Dillon’s car. Dillon dropped oil between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 246. Harvick spun in the oil and ended up on pit road. Larson slid into Turn 3. The race restarted on Lap 251, but the damage was already done. Despite repairs, Larson’s night ended on Lap 293 after blowing a tire. 

Larson finished 33rd, losing the championship lead to Truex by five points. Prior to the wreck, his only finish outside of the top 15 was his 17th-place result at Martinsville.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Charlotte
Location Charlotte Motor Speedway
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Author Lee Spencer
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