By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
SPARTA, Ky. – Being late to driver introductions was the least of the issues that plagued Kyle Larson at Kentucky Speedway.
In addition to having to start at the rear of the field as a result of his tardiness, he also had issues with a broken track bar adjuster, which caused wild swings in balance in the Quaker State 400 for Larson.
Larson, who had to climb through the field, had just passed eventual race-winner Martin Truex, Jr. when the track bar adjuster failed. As the Chip Ganassi Racing driver attempted to make minor adjustments on his No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the track bar would move down on its’ own.
At one point, it had lowered by over five inches, making the car extremely tight. The team had to put 14 turns of wedge to counteract the track bar adjuster.
“It’s hard to say if I would have had anything to win,” Larson said. “I drove by the No. 78 and then right after that we had our track bar issue there and went plowing tight. Then we had to crutch it with wedge there the last run and it drove okay, just built being back really tight at the last 25 laps or so. So, yeah, it’s hard to say if I would have won or not, but I would have at least liked to have had the shot.”
With the fix, Larson’s Chevrolet once again was a top-five capable car. He climbed through the field late, cracking the top-10 with under 10 laps to go. However, Larson had too little time, recovering to finish ninth.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened to it (the trackbar),” Larson explained. “It was down five and a half inches on my dash and I could move it. They couldn’t move it under the pit stops and like I said they had to crutch it with the wedge so I’m not sure what causes that, but it happened.”
Larson’s night started with an entirely separate issue. The 18th-place qualifier had a miscommunication during pre-race festivities and was late to driver introductions. The resulting penalty dropped Larson to the tail-end of the starting grid. His speed was evident as he easily moved into eighth by the end of Stage 1, and the top-five after just 98 laps.
The ninth-place finish is Larson’s 11thtop-10 finish this season. He remains eighth in the Championship Points Standings, 218 behind Points Leader Kyle Busch. Larson is now 154-points ahead of the cutoff for the Playoffs, held by Alex Bowman.