Larson Scores Top-Five Finish in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 11, 2014) Kyle Larson and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team hoped to return to Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway after Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race, but despite having a lightning-fast No. 42 Nature Made Chevrolet Camaro, multiple cautions proved that their machine wasn’t as strong on short runs, and they were forced to settle with a fifth-place finish when the checkered flag waved.

With undeniable speed, Larson was able to lay down top-10 lap times throughout both NNS practice sessions on Thursday afternoon. The 22-year-old followed them up by advancing to the third and final round of qualifying, ultimately scoring a sixth-place starting position for the Drive for the Cure 300. Motivating Larson and the No. 42 TSM team even more, Make-A-Wish teamed up with Nature Made on their KIDS FIRST initiative and brought 17-year-old avid NASCAR fan, Christian, to the race for a top-notch experience. With Christian and his family atop the pit box, the green flag waved and the first two cautions quickly arose. Despite telling crew chief Scott Zipadelli that his Chevy was tight, Larson was scored as the fastest car on the track several times before green-flag pit stops began to take place. On lap 60, Zipadelli called the Nature Made Chevy to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. Once again, Larson began to lay down the fastest lap times, some being a tenth faster than the field. The third caution flag waved on lap 115 and Larson told Zipadelli that he was a little too loose after the change. Zipadelli called Larson back to pit road under the next caution for four new tires and fuel, along with an adjustment to tighten up his Nature Made KIDS FIRST Chevy. Maintaining a spot within the top five after the restart, the fifth caution was quick to follow, and with Larson still loose through Turns 1 and 2, Zipadelli called him back to pit road. After four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment, Larson found a top-five spot again following the restart. The yellow flag waved again on lap 167 and Larson told the crew that his Chevy was still really loose. Coming back to pit road, Zipadelli called for the final set of Goodyear tires, a splash of fuel and another air-pressure adjustment. Restarting outside of the top 10, Larson made every jaw drop when he charged his No. 42 Nature Made Chevy from 12th into third place in a matter of seconds. Despite an incredible attempt to get to the front, the caution flag waved one final time on lap 177 and Larson told Zipadelli that his car was now too tight.  Unable to run the bottom, Larson dropped back to the fifth position after the final restart and maintained his position until the checkered flag waved.

Larson and the No. 42 TSM team now have 13 top-five finishes throughout their 25 NNS starts this season.

Kyle Larson on his Top-Five Finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway: "We had a really fast Nature Made car all weekend, but unfortunately, we just couldn’t contend for the win on the short runs. We definitely had the best car on the track on long runs, though. We struggled on the last pit stop and lost a few spots; I was pretty frustrated, but then I made that pass and went from 12th to third, so that got us back in the race. Towards the end, I messed up trying to pass [Ryan] Blaney and got really tight, and that was my fault. Overall, I’m pretty happy with a top-five finish after our last few runs. Thanks to Nature Made and Make-A-Wish for their support this weekend. I wish we could’ve gotten back in Victory Lane, but we’ve still got a few shots to get another win.”

First Practice:
Position: 10th
Fastest Lap: 30.218 sec.
Laps: 16

Final Practice:
Position: 9th
Fastest Lap: 30.047 sec.
Laps: 50

Qualifying:
Position: 6th
Fastest Lap: 29.885 sec.

Race:
Position: 5th
Laps Completed/Total: 200/200
Laps Led: 0

What’s Next – The NNS has a two-week break before returning to the track at Texas Motor Speedway for the final three races of the 2014 season. The O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge can be seen live on Saturday, November 1 at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN 2.