Kyle Larson was on NASCAR America’s Splash & Go segment this week and he spoke with Rick Allen about being the top Chevrolet team right now. See, after two races, no one leads as many laps in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as Larson. Even last year, despite going winless, Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet looked to avoid the problems that plagued the Chevy teams and their new car.
Yes, Hendrick Motorsports qualified three of their four cars for the Cup playoffs and yes Chase Elliott won three times, but that alone is the reason as to why Larson is questioning just how much of Hendrick’s struggles at the beginning of the year is just for show.
“I feel like Hendrick (Motorsports) plays games in a way with NASCAR,” Larson said. “I feel like they always start the year off kind of bad to like show NASCAR that they’re being nice and cooperating and following the rules and stuff, and then it gets a couple of months in, and they start cheating and finding some speed.”
Since these comments, Larson took to social media on Tuesday night to apologize.
Even coming back and apologizing, it’s still eye opening. With Chevy coming off of their worst statistical season since 1982, you would think it would be all hands on deck for all the bowtie teams in the NASCAR garage. It’s been since 2016 that Chevy has had a representative on the Cup side of things in the Championship 4 at Homestead.
Plus, Hendrick supplies the engines for Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing gets that support from HMS. So, for Larson to practically call out HMS for cheating, you can say there’s going to be some dysfunction behind the scene now.
It’s going to be hard to prove what Larson is saying is even on point too. The closest thing I could find was that Elliott’s stats do tend to get better as the season goes on, but you can also attribute that to his youth.
In the first 18 races of 2018, Elliott had only four top five finishes. In the same time frame in 2016 and again in 2017, the Georgia native had six each.
But, over the final 18 races of those years, he had seven in 2018 (3 wins), six in 2017 (4 runner-ups) and four in 2016 (runner-up, 2 third place runs).
Stats prove he has gotten better as the season has gone on. It can go the other way too. Alex Bowman had a better start to his 2018 season than the final half. Jimmie Johnson has started better than he’s ended the last two years too.
It’s going to be an interesting storyline to see how this plays out.