Heading into Dover, Chip Ganassi Racing found its two cars straddling the line to be able to advance onto the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with Kyle Larson just above the line and Jamie McMurray just below it. While the team was confident that they could get both of their cars into the top-12 in points by the time the day was over, it would be the opposite of that after a rough day for both Larson and McMurray.
Larson entered the day with a five point advantage over the Chase cut-off, but had a plethora of issues that his No. 42 team had to deal with throughout the day. Those issues included an electrical issue early in the race that put him a lap down, a pit road violation for too many men over the wall while trying to fix the electrical issue, and an impact with the wall at lap 183. The various issues dropped him to 25th at the finish and caused him to fall from 12th place in points entering the day to 14th place when the race was over.
“I don’t know what happened with the battery or whatever. But, I lost power. We lost a lap. We had too many men over the wall. And, really, without too many men over the wall, we probably would have been all right because I was only a lap down. Whatever. But, our Target Chevy has been good every week. So, we’ll go out and try to win some races. Even though we’re not in the next round, we still have a shot at finishing fifth in points. So, we’re going to try our best to run up as far as we can in points,” said Larson.
“Our team has come a long way this season from where we started the year. We were pretty awful at the start of the season but then got a win at Michigan to lock ourselves in the Chase. That was good. I know we have the speed to have made it past a couple of rounds but it’s my typical luck I guess, where it just doesn’t work out.”
While having one car not make it to the Round of 12 was tough enough, Chip Ganassi Racing got a double dose after McMurray had issues of his own. Entering the race needing to make up five points to be able to move into the top-12 by the end of the race, things were looking promising early on, but took a turn for the worst soon enough.
McMurray had a vibration that he was feeling, which turned into losing power in a few of the cylinders of his engine before the engine completely let go at lap 194 in a cloud of billowing smoke on the frontstretch, ending McMurray’s championship hopes at Dover for the second straight year.
“Well, horrible day for our organization. I’m not sure what happened to the No. 42. They said that he lost power; I think it was an electrical something, because they got going again. Then, I don’t know we had a vibration early in the race and it went away and the car was fine. Then it started vibrating again. It lasted about 20 or 30 laps and finally the engine let go. Then we were just trying to run long enough that you could see if it was something as simple as a spark plug or what the issue is, we don’t know. Finally, obviously, the motor completely blew up. They said what happened, but I couldn’t hear them over all the cars on track. Very unfortunate and disappointed, but very proud of our organization, where our cars started the year at to where we are right now we have made huge progress and we will just go race as hard as we can the next seven races,” said McMurray.
“It’s really hard when you run bad, but the fact that we have run so well the last two months and have been very consistent, both cars. You will have things like this happen. It’s frustrating that it happens at this point when you can’t really afford to have anything bad go wrong, but Hendrick motors have been pretty amazing for the last six years I think, five years that we have had them. I think I have only had two motor failures they just both have happened in the Chase.”