Kyle Larson says they have strong cars – just need to minimize mistakes

With finishes of 38th, 20th, 19th and 10th, some would say that Kyle Larson’s rookie season isn’t off to a good start. Some may even argue that the young driver needs more experience in NASCAR’s lower-tier divisions.

While both are good points, only one remains correct. Larson says that he agrees that it hasn’t been a good start, but not due to the lack of speed. The No. 42 Target team has had quick cars all season – Larson just has made some mistakes.

“We’ve had really fast cars all year long,” Larson commented. “Just haven’t really caught the right breaks to get those top 10s.  I feel at Phoenix and Vegas both we had top-10 cars.  I got stuck a lap down there from mistakes.”

In the first three races of the year, Larson has found himself in the wall (Daytona), caught doing a pit stop under green before a caution flew (Phoenix) and fell a lap down after speeding on pit road (Las Vegas).

” After the first three weeks I realized to even get a top 15, you have to be almost perfect or have a perfect race,” Larson said. “It’s tough to come back from mistakes in this series.  I learned that really quick.”

Larson also learned in the first three weeks of the year the importance of good communication in happy hour to make the car good for the race. Larson feels that they struggled with that at both Phoenix and Las Vegas setting them behind the eight-ball.

“It’s hard to come back from those,” he added. “Communicating well with your crew chief, even though I ran those Cup races last year, these really are the first four races I’ve got to work with Chris Heroy.  I did some testing with him last year, but it’s totally different than putting yourself in situations in races and stuff.  The communication part has been a big adjustment.”

Larson was able to put the pieces together at Bristol for his first top 10 finish together this past weekend at Bristol as he finished 10th after running inside the top five during the middle part of the race.

“I think with the good finish at Bristol, it’s really going to hopefully turn things around, hopefully bring a lot of consistency,” Larson said. “It’s definitely a good feeling going into the California, my home state, with a good finish at Bristol.”

Larson has been strong at Bristol in the past – a pair of second place finishes in the Nationwide Series to date – so having a shot to win on Sunday night was not a surprise to many fans. Larson had a legitimate shot to win but with 76 laps to go, he chose to pit while Edwards and other stayed out.

“There at the end maybe we pitted when we shouldn’t have and then it was tough to pass,” he commented. “It’s really actually exciting to be a little bit disappointed in a top-10 finish in the Cup Series.  Like I said, this series is really competitive and hard to do well in.  I thought we had a top-five race going for sure and ended up 10th.”

With four races behind him, Larson feels that the speed he has shown so far shows that he belongs at t the Sprint Cup Series level with the stars of the sport.

“I hope fans see that I’ve been competitive each week, maybe not at Daytona, but every week since then I feel like I’ve been pretty competitive,” he commented.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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