By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
In a surprising move, Jamie McMurray took a swipe at Kyle Larson, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, under caution. Despite the on-track disagreement, Larson still managed to finish inside the top-10 in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
With just over 30 laps to go, contact between Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and McMurray resulted in a chaotic chain of events. McMurray’s No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ended up with a soft left rear tire, while Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet had a punctured radiator. Larson, who was two laps down at the time, was not far behind, also contacting McMurray, who was on the lead lap.
The caution waved nearly a lap later for the fluid from Newman’s Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. McMurray took the opportunity to drive past several drivers to voice his displeasure. However, he targeted Larson and not Busch. McMurray ran his teammate up the track, almost into the outside wall. Despite all of this, Larson was still the free pass car. He moved back onto the lead lap and climbed to finish in seventh in an overtime scramble.
“We weren’t very good all race long,” Larson explained. “And then I ended-up getting the Lucky Dog there and then lost a lap preparing very, very minor damage, so that was kind of a hiccup on our part. I was able to get the Lucky Dog again and then charge from wherever we were to seventh the last laps. So, we salvaged a really good finish which was good.”
The seventh-place finish was the third top-five and fifth top-10 of the season for Larson. Despite the top-10, he slipped from ninth to 10thin the Championship Standings, 136-points behind race winner Kyle Busch. Larson is also 87-points ahead of the Playoff Cutoff, held by rookie William Byron.
Now Larson and McMurray will have to put aside their disagreements from tonight’s race as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series moves on to the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29.