By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Although he has yet to win in the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Kyle Larson believes his team is heading in the right direction. The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season marks the first for the Camaro ZL1, which has only gone to victory lane in the Daytona 500 with Austin Dillon. Since then Larson’s No. 42 McDonald’s team has been the class of the Chevrolet camp.
In seven races this season, Larson has two top-five and three top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway. He also seemed poised to score another top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway until a right front tire ended his day. Entering the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Larson sits 10thin the Championship Points standings.
“I feel like we have pretty good speed in our cars,” Larson explained. “We haven’t had a lot of luck to go with it, but I feel like our average running position has been okay at the tracks we are typically good at. Martinsville I always seem to struggle, but I felt like we ran a little bit better there. I felt like Texas I was similar in speed to Kyle (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) then we had our right-front (tire) issue. So, I feel like we are close.”
Although Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing team has been one of the best in the Chevrolet camp this season, the drivers to beat so far this season has been Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. Those three drivers account for five of the seven race victories with Martinsville Speedway and Daytona the only exceptions.
“We still have a way to go to compete with the No. 4,” Larson admitted. “I think he is in his own league right now and then the No. 18 their team is good and Kyle is just really, really good. So, I feel like we are fourth or fifth ‘best-ish.’ I don’t know it’s hard to say, but we’ve got to get finishing a little bit better and click off a win and then I think we can consider ourselves a favorite again.”
Now Larson and his Chip Ganassi Racing team will look to improve their speed at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”