Larson Earns Top-15 Finish in First Showing at Chicagoland Speedway

 

Larson Earns Top-15 Finish in First Showing at Chicagoland Speedway

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Published in Nationwide Series News
Monday, 22 July 2013 08:07
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Larson Earns Top-15 Finish in First Showing at Chicagoland Speedway Getty Images

Kyle Larson made his debut in the Windy City, making his first laps of competition at Chicagoland Speedway. Larson and the No. 32 International team honed in on the setup of their Chevy Camaro throughout the 200-lap event and led four laps on their way to earning a 12th-place finish.

 

After two extended practice sessions at the 1.5-mile oval, Larson qualified the No. 32 in the 22nd position. Taking the green flag, the 20-year-old relayed to crew chief Trent Owens that his Camaro was really loose when running behind other competitors. Although he had moved up into the 15th position when the time came for the team to make their first pit stop of the day, Larson radioed that the International Chevy was way too loose everywhere. The team was aggressive in their pit stop, changing four tires, providing fuel, and making wedge, track-bar and air-pressure adjustments to tighten up the car's handling.

 

Restarting from the 18th position, Larson worked his way into the 13th position over the course of a long green-flag run. Larson conveyed that his car was much better getting into the middle after the previous stop's adjustments, but was still extremely loose on exit. As the race reached its halfway point, the No. 32 was once again due a pit stop, and Owens called his driver onto pit road under green for a four-tire stop with fuel and a track-bar adjustment.

 

After a solid pit stop, Larson returned to the track in 16th as his competitors continued to cycle through stops. When the third caution flag of the day waved on lap 115, Larson once again visited pit road, this time for a track-bar and spring-rubber adjustment. Now on a slightly different tire strategy, Larson took the green flag from 12th when racing resumed on lap 120. The yellow flag waved once again 10 laps later, and as the leaders peeled onto pit road, Larson took over the lead.

 

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 134, and Larson held onto the lead for the next three laps before relinquishing it to drivers with fresher tires. Larson dropped back into the 11th position by the time the next yellow flag waved on lap 172. With the International Chevrolet back to a loose condition, the team made their final pit stop of the day, taking four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

 

Scored in 15th place when the race went green, Larson worked his way up to ninth by the final restart on lap 186. With a wild three-wide restart, Larson lost momentum and once again dropped to 15th. Using the closing laps, the 20-year-old was able to gain three spots back, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 12th position.

 

Larson remains seventh in the NNS Driver Point Standings. The next stop for the series is the historic brickyard of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indiana 250. The event air lives on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

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Steven B. Wilson

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