Larson flashes superstar potential with playoff win at Dover

Ross Houston
October 10, 2019

With the win, Larson became the only driver to locked into the third round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs securing his, and Chip Ganassi Racing's, first-ever round of 8 appearance. He's the first driver of the 12 contenders in the field of eight.

"Everybody in this playoff will know stress next week at Talladega, except for me", Larson told NBCSN afterward. "It would be nice to get him that championship that he's honestly probably owed". I could still end up on my lid next week, but it's not going to matter after this win.

On the other hand, Martin Truex Jr. - who finished second - had a great run, as did fellow playoff drivers Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, who finished third through fifth.

The team owner developed Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray early in their careers, only for both drivers to jump to bigger teams after they'd proved competitive in the Cup Series. Larson came to NASCAR billed as the next Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart, and while his potential has come in flashes, the results have not been consistent and questions have swirled about his commitment to Cup racing. He has only four top-five finishes, did not finish four times and his average finish is just 17.5 place.

Larson has it pretty good with Ganassi, who allows him to compete in sprint vehicle racing while many team owners restrict what their drivers can do in their free time.

Larson's not there yet - but just maybe he's getting there.

The top four finishers in both races were the same. Logano failed to start the race because of a broken axle on the No. 22 Ford.

"We just used our mulligan up", Logano said. He eventually hit the track more than 20 laps down and finished 34th.

Hamlin is trying to win at Dover for the first time in 28 races. While he has never won at Dover, this is Hamlin's fourth pole at the speedway and the 32nd of his career. "I assume we'll have to win one of these next few weeks".

Ryan Blaney suffered brake problems and finished 35th.

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