Close Battle Leaves Larson with a Third-Place Finish at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (July 20, 2014) – In his third-career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Chicagoland Speedway, Kyle Larson and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team appeared to be the duo to beat for much of the 200-lap race, but several close battles, along with pit-stop issues, left Larson with a third-place finish in the 300. With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off for the weekend, Larson had full focus on the 1.5-mile oval and proved just that when he laid down the fifth and 14th-fastest lap times in both practice sessions, opting not to make a mock qualifying run in either. Larson then claimed a 12th-place starting position for the No. 42 Cartwheel Chevrolet after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying. As the green flag waved in the Windy City, Larson communicated to crew chief Scott Zipadelli that his racecar was really loose in Turns 1 and 2. Knowing the handling issue was most likely caused by the rubber left on the track from the ARCA Racing Series event, Zipadelli told Larson to remain out when the first caution arose on lap nine. By lap 25, Larson had charged his way into the top five and began to run the same lap times as the leader by lap 40. As green-flag pit stops began to take place, Zipadelli called Larson to pit road on lap 55 for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. After a solid stop by the No. 42 team, Larson rejoined the field in the top five, and by lap 108, the Cartwheel Chevy had taken the lead. After leading just four laps, Zipadelli called the No. 42 car to pit road for another green- flag stop, receiving four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Despite losing track position after the stop, Larson was in the third position when the third yellow flag waved on lap 124. Remaining on the track, Larson charged to the front of the pack on the restart and led the field for 15 laps before dropping to second. The battle for the lead continued, and by lap 158, Larson was once again in clean air and at the front of the field. With 40 laps to go, the final round of green-flag pit stops began to take place and Zipadelli called for four tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment to tighten up the racecar. Trouble in the pits, however, took Larson from first place to eighth. Different pit strategies then forced Larson to log laps until the cars in front of him visited pit road, eventually moving up into third by lap 180. After several close battles for a spot within the top three, Larson found himself getting loose in the turns, making it even more difficult to close the gap between the leaders. Despite his best effort to get to the front in the final laps, Larson drove the No. 42 Cartwheel Chevy across the finish line in third place.

More determined than ever to get another win, the No. 42 TSM remains third in the NNS Owner Point Standings.

Kyle Larson on Racing at Chicagoland Speedway: "Man, we should’ve had it tonight. My Turner Scott Motorsports team prepared a great car for me and it’s a shame we didn’t end the night in victory lane. I started off pretty loose since the ARCA race left quite a bit of rubber on the track; but after running some laps, I settled in pretty well and we were really fast. We had some issues in the pits on those last two stops and that cost us a lot, but I wasn’t really good on that final run anyway; I was really loose and Kasey [Kahne] and I were racing hard. The lines seemed to change all throughout the race and that made it pretty fun and interesting. Overall it was another solid night for this Nationwide program at Turner Scott. We’ll work on some things and hopefully be back to get another win in Indy.”

First Practice:
Position: 5
Fastest Lap: 31.903 sec.
Laps: 12

Final Practice: 
Position: 14
Fastest Lap: 31.385 sec.
Laps: 55

Position: 12
Fastest Lap: 30.647 sec.

Position: 3
Laps Completed/Total: 200/200
Led: 23

What’s Next – Larson will pilot a TSM truck at Eldora Speedway before heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an afternoon of NNS racing at the Brickyard. Live coverage of the Lilly Diabetes 250 begins Saturday, July 26 at 4:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN.