Larson: Kahne’s win “ends our Chase hopes unless we win”
Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty ImagesKyle Larson (42) comes to the green flag on a restart at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Larson finished eighth.
By Dominic Aragon
September 1, 2014
Despite a top-ten effort from
Kyle Larson at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday night, the rookie driver feels he
must win next week at Richmond to make the Chase.
Larson, who finished eighth in
his first start at Atlanta, sits 24 points behind Greg Biffle, the driver
currently in position to earn the final transfer spot to this year’s playoffs.
“Top-10 is not bad,” Larson said to the media post-race. “Doesn't really matter anymore because Kasey won. So happy for Kasey, but that pretty much ends our Chase hopes unless we win.”
The top-ten finish is Larson’s 11th in 25 races, scoring more top-ten finishes than all seven other Rookie of the Year candidates combined.
“Couple times we got caught on pit road when the caution fell, so we had to do the wave around and restart behind all the lap down cars,” Larson said. “That kind of worked out to where at the end where we are the green-white-checkered and the Target Chevy felt pretty good through the green-white-checkered. Just had to start pretty far back.”
Larson added eight points to his deficit from Bristol. With one race left before NASCAR’s playoffs begin, plenty of what if’s can be speculated.
But in a basic scenario for next week, for Larson to make the Chase strictly on points, the driver needs to finish at least 25 spots ahead of Greg Biffle, at least two positions ahead of Clint Bowyer, and have a 2014 repeat winner score the win.
A victory guarantees the rookie a Chase berth. If Larson make the Chase, he would be the first rookie since Denny Hamlin in 2006 to qualify for the post-season.
In one start at Richmond, Larson finished 16th on the lead lap after recovering from a first lap spin.