Richmond Rookie Report: Eleventh Not Enough for Larson

Richmond Rookie Report: Eleventh Not Enough for Larson

by September 7, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

RICHMOND, Va. — Despite coming home with a solid 11th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway, leading Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Larson was unable to make his way into the Chase after coming 17 points short of transferring into the 16-man grid by points in the Federated Auto Parts 400.

The driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet entered Richmond with one goal and one goal only – to win. Unfortunately, Chip Ganassi Racing’s short track program would not be able to run the same pace that Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, and Stewart-Haas Racing had during the race and Larson would have nothing for Chase rivals Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer throughout the night.

Despite that, it was a very consistent performance for the 22-year-old from Elk Grove, California. Larson was able to hang around in the top-10 for a majority of the night and at times he was knocking on the door of a top-five position. Larson’s car would begin to slip away from him a bit during the closing stages of the race as he would slip to just outside of the top-10 at the waving of the checkered flag.

Larson would still be the highest-finishing rookie as the second highest-finishing rookie would be Austin Dillon, who finished 20th.

Dillon would have a relatively quiet day at the office as he would not be able to make much noise throughout the night. The driver of the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet would reach his highest position of 15th on Lap 240, but would spend most of his night sitting quietly just inside of the top-20. Despite not getting the finish he may have wanted, Dillon earned his first top-20 finish after three weeks of finishing in the lower half of the field.

Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett would be unable to advance much further than their respective starting positions – 27th and 40th – throughout the night. Allgaier would run as high as 24th on Laps 60 and 260 but would slip slightly back to 28th by the end of the night. Annett would be able to advance his position to 30th within 60 laps and would hold steady in 30th for over 50 laps before sliding back through the field. Annett would continue his downwards spiral as the race progressed until he would land in 37th-place – the spot where he would remain for the rest of the race – just before Lap 250.

Cole Whitt would be the lone shining light for BK Racing as he would bring his No. 26 Standard Plumbing Supply Toyota home in the 30th position. Alex Bowman kicked off BKR’s race on a positive note by starting 25th after a strong qualifying effort for the driver of the No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota. At the drop of the green flag, Bowman would begin to drop back while Whitt would begin to make forward progress. BK Racing’s driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota, Ryan Truex, would be unable to attain the speed of his two rookie teammates during the race and would ultimately finish in the 42nd position – 87 laps off of the lead. Bowman would finish in 38th position.

The 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year class head to Chicagoland Speedway for next Sunday’s 400. Whitt and Allgaier are the only RotY contenders who have previously started at the mile-and-a-half track in Joliet, Illinois. Allgaier made his series debut at the track with a 27th-place finish for HScott Motorsports while Whitt would have two starts with a 37th-place finish coming with Hillman Racing in 2012 and a 39th-place finish coming with Swan Racing last year.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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