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NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2016 Recap/2017 Outlook – Kyle Larson

2016 was a year of firsts for Kyle Larson, as he was able to earn both his first Sprint Cup Series victory and his first Chase berth.

 

Car No.: 42

Crew Chief: Chad Johnston

Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Wins: 1

Top-Fives: 10

Top-10s: 15

Points Finish: 9th

2016 Quick Summary: This season was by far the most successful of Kyle Larson’s young Sprint Cup career. He was able to live up to a lot of the expectations people have had for him, like being competitive every week. He had eight more top fives than 2015 and five more top 10s.

Since he was a rookie, people have wondered when Larson would earn his first Cup win. This question was answered at Michigan in August when he held off Chase Elliott on a late-race restart to finally end up in Victory Lane. This win guaranteed him a spot in the Chase, but he was eliminated in the first round. He finished the season ninth in points, which is also a career-high.

2016 Highlight(s): Larson finally got the proverbial monkey off his back at the August Michigan race, coming home with the victory. He led a race-high 41 laps, including the final nine after a late restart where he held off Chase Elliott to get the win.

2016 Lowlight(s): Larson’s worst race of the year came at Fontana, where he finished last after an early wreck. But two finishes outside the top 15 in the first three races of the Chase, including an accident at Dover, led to the California native being eliminated in the first round.

2017 Outlook: Much like his teammate, Jamie McMurray, Larson looks to benefit from Ganassi’s relationship with Hendrick Motorsports, as they will be the only outside team using Hendrick engines. Now that Larson has proven he can get to Victory Lane, the 42 team’s goal in 2017 should be contending for the championship, not just wins.

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By Kasey McNerney

Kasey McNerney is currently attending Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. During her college career, she has worked with sports organizations like Phoenix International Raceway and the Harlem Globetrotters. After graduation, she hopes to find a job in the sports industry as a public relations specialist. Born and raised in Phoenix, Kasey grew up a racing fan and attended races at PIR with her family.