Given his position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, Kyle Larson understands that his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team may have to go for broke to win a race and qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR sprint Cup.
That’s exactly what happened on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, when Larson’s crew chief, Chris Heroy, kept the car on the track in hopes it would be leading when an impending thunderstorm arrived.
With a push from eventual race winner Kurt Busch, Larson indeed took the lead moments after a restart on Lap 130 of the Quicken Loans 400, but Larson had to pit for fuel on Lap 133, handing the top spot to Busch.
Less than two minutes later, the anticipated deluge arrived. NASCAR threw a caution on Lap 136, red-flagged the race on Lap 138 and shortly thereafter declared Busch the winner.
Larson finished 17th in a car that likely would have run 10th without the gamble, but the driver had no issues with taking the calculated risk.
“We could see weather coming there off of (Turn) 4 and just praying that it would get here in time for me to stay out and be in the lead when the rain did hit,” Larson said.
“Hey, I applaud my guys for trying. We are pretty deep in points (18th after Sunday’s race) so we have to take risks like that to make the Chase. I’m happy with the call—just wish the rain would have come three laps sooner.”