CONCORD, N.C. - Chip Ganassi Racing posted a pair of top-10 finishes to start the Round of 12 in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
But it could have been much better.
Early in the race, Kyle Larson missed his pit stall and had to go around and come back for service, dropping back deep in the field.
Then after coming on to pit road in first place during the third stage, Larson’s rear tire carrier fell, slowing his pit stop significantly. Larson restarted 12th on the ensuing restart but could only manage to rebound to finish 10th.
“I totally missed my pit stall there early and then our rear carrier slipped and it cost us a little bit,” Larson said. “Our pit crew has been really good all year. They’ll rebound fine.”
Larson’s surge back to the front after the miscue was halted by traffic and an ill-handling car.
“The the last 40-50 laps was frustrating,” Larson said. “Proud that we fought hard all day and still salvaged a top-10.”
Jamie McMurray scored his seventh top-10 finish on a 1.5 mile track in 2017, coming home in the fifth position. It’s the third top-five finish of the season for McMurray and first since finishing fifth at Michigan in June.
“We had probably the fastest car at the beginning. This is a really good track for me,” McMurray said. “Every year we seem to run well here. Our cars have been awesome this year. I had really good pit stops. We had everything going for us.
“Just need to line up in the correct lane on the restarts and have those first good two or three laps. Overall just a solid day."
McMurray was one of many drivers who were affected by unseasonably warm and humid conditions at Charlotte on Sunday.
“It’s not hot today, just humid. I knew when I came out of my bus before the race started while we were standing out here it wasn’t that hot it was just muggy and sticky,” McMurray said. "In the car the air conditioners don’t work when it’s like that. It’ll be a long 24 hours getting rehydrated and getting going again.”
Now both Ganassi drivers head to Talladega next Sunday looking for a win to clinch a spot in the Round of 8 in the Playoffs. While Larson has never won at Talladega, McMurray is a two-time winner at the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway.
“I view Talladega as going there and racing as hard as I can each and every lap. Trying to get as many stage points as I can,” McMurray said. “I know that when the thing is over we’ll have had a shot to win but we’ll also have a good shot to get crashed.”
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson
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