Larson runner-up at Martinsville as Elliott advances in playoffs

Kyle Larson backed up his fine victory at Homestead a week prior by finishing in second place at Martinsville Speedway, the Californian racer leading 68 laps after starting the race from pole position and holding onto the place in a wild finish.

Although the defending NASCAR Cup champion is no longer in the running for another shot at ultimate season glory, that chance still remains for his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, whose tenth-place finish means he advances to the driver’s Championship 4.

“We just got back a little further than we had been throughout the day. Track position was everything unless you were a couple guys,” said Elliott on his team’s official website. “I thought it was a really solid day; we did what we needed on the driver’s (championship) side. I hate we didn’t make the owner’s (championship), that’s kind of a double-edged deal.”

Completing a good outing for the Hendrick team, partnered by Acronis, was a battling seventh place finish for William Byron having started way back in 25th. Yet this still wasn’t quite enough to make it to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4, Byron missing out by 21 markers.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t really in the game. I knew that early on in the race, we were making some progress, but we just struggled all day,” added Byron. “The first three-quarters of the race were pretty miserable. Nothing like what we had in the spring.

“We were just tight with not a lot of pace. The No. 24 Liberty University Chevy team kept their heads down and got a decent finish out of it, so that was a good lesson for the day.”

It all means that much is still up for grabs when racing concludes at Phoenix for the championship race in less than a week’s time as Elliott aims for a second driver’s championship in three seasons whilst Larson will try and help the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 claim back-to-back owner’s championships.


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