Kyle Larson and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team came to Thunder Valley on Saturday for the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300 hoping to come away with a clean finish in their Cottonelle Camaro after a tough start to the 2012 season. Steering clear of any trouble and methodically picking his way through the field, Larson found himself in striking distance on the final lap to battle for the win. Going door-to-door as he crossed the stripe under the checkered flag, Larson came away with runner-up honors in the second-closest NNS finish in history at Bristol.
Reporting to crew chief Trent Owens throughout both practice sessions that he was struggling to turn through the center of the corners and exit, Larson and the Cottonelle team put their heads together to find a better setup prior to qualifying on Saturday. Accomplishing just that, Larson laid down a lap good enough for the 12th starting position and was optimistic all of the hard work his Turner Scott Motorsports team had put in would pay off during the main event that afternoon.
Taking advantage of the outside line that seemed to work well with the setup under the Cottonelle Camaro, Larson took the green flag and rode around the top side of the half-mile bullring, breaking into the top-10 after 50 laps. Larson radioed to his crew that his No. 32 machine was much better than in practice and he was happy with how it handled in traffic. After his first pit stop, under the second caution of the day on lap 61, Larson was silent over the radio, other than to say he was still pleased with his Camaro, as he avoided on-track incidents that brought out the next five cautions.
Charging his way into the top-five on the seventh restart with 100 laps to go, Larson showed the perfect balance of patience and aggression while sorting his way through heavy traffic and closing the gap on the leaders. The eighth and final caution of the day left Owens with a choice to bring the No. 32 Camaro down pit road for fresh tires or keep Larson on the track. After the rookie driver told his crew the balance was perfect and he was very pleased with the car, Owens opted to keep him out on the track to battle for the victory. Following the restart, Larson had 27 laps to track down the leader and immediately went to work, getting another great restart and pushing his way to the second position. He chased down first place until the final lap when he caught Kyle Busch in the final turn and went to the high side, rubbing fenders to take the checkered flag two one-hundredths of a second away from the victory.
"I have to thank this Turner Scott Motorsports team for working as hard as they did to make this Cottonelle Camaro so fast today and for giving me the opportunity to battle for the win on the final lap," said Larson. "Bristol is really a fun place to race because there are so many different grooves you can run. I'm just so happy for this entire team to finally get a good finish to show for all of the hard work they put into these Chevy Camaros."