10/19 21:56 CDT Larson denied appeal of rules violation from Talladega
Larson denied appeal of rules violation from Talladega
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) --- Kyle Larson's appeal of a rules violation from last
week's race at Talladega was denied Friday, a big blow to the Chip Ganassi
Racing driver's chances of advancing in NASCAR's playoffs.
Larson was docked 10 points, crew chief Chad Johnston fined $25,000 and car
chief David Bryant was suspended for Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway after
officials determined the team used unapproved metal tabs in violation of
NASCAR's policy for repairing damaged vehicles.
The penalty dropped Larson from 26 points behind the playoff cutoff to 36
points, meaning the elimination race at Kansas to trim the field to eight is
practically a must-win for him.
"I don't know much about the appeals stuff. I kind of just drive," Larson said.
"Obviously, a 10-point penalty doesn't help, but I felt like with even being 26
points back we were going to have to go into this week and get a win to make
the next round. So it doesn't mean much to me."
Now he's going to have to win from the rear, too. Larson clipped the wall
during practice on Friday and had to go to a backup car, which means he will be
sent to the back after qualifying 27th.
His team's expedited appeal on Friday morning was denied by the three-person
panel of Chuck Deery, Dixon Johnston and Cathy Rice. Chip Ganassi Racing made a
final appeal that also was denied, though Larson didn't seem to care much
whether the team was successful.
"I viewed this weekend before as we had to come in here and win," he said.
Larson was already having a tough day at Talladega when a blown tire led to a
spin on Lap 104, which caused some damage to his car. The team wound up using
metal tabs to make the repairs, but the damaged vehicle policy states only
fasteners or tape can reattach parts.
The repairs were made without NASCAR officials noticing the violations.
Martin Truex Jr. is in the eighth and final playoff spot heading to Kansas
Speedway, but Larson has more to make up than just the points. He'd need to
leapfrog Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who along with Alex Bowman are among
the four drivers below the cut line.
"I think if it was a 26-point gap, you could win both stages or something and
that would kind of get you back in it, depending on what kind of race Truex and
(Clint) Bowyer and all those guys have," Larson said, "but I don't know. We'll
just go out there Sunday and run hard."
One thing Larson has going for him is his success at Kansas. He's finished in
the top six in two of his last three races, including last spring, when he led
101 laps and won the middle stage before a late crash forced him to work back
through the field and finish fourth.
Of course, there's been heartbreak at Kansas. Larson was 29 points to the good
side of the cutline last fall when engine failure eliminated him from NASCAR's
"I was a little bummed about Talladega, and flying home I got really excited
about where we were headed this week," Larson said. "There's always more
pressure to not make mistakes and you cost yourself the spot where you're
already in the playoffs or in the next round. You're so worried about not
making a mistake.
"We know what to do: We can run aggressive, we can race with little care, I
guess. Our team can make aggressive calls if the opportunity is there. It's a
cool position to be in."
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