NorCal Racing

Kyle Larson’s championship bid ends early due to engine failure

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Kyle Larson was one of the best drivers throughout the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series season, winning four races, leading the third-most laps and entering the playoffs as a title favorite.

But Larson’s championship hopes ended unexpectedly in the second round during Sunday’s knockout race at Kansas Speedway. His elimination was caused by an engine failure in the No. 42 Chevrolet, erasing what was thought to be a comfortable 29-point margin entering the final race of three in the quarterfinal bracket.

“I’m not stunned because freak things happen in every sport,” Larson said. “Most every time, at least in the new playoff format era, not always does the best team win. Not saying we are the best team, but we have been one of the contenders all season long. … We have been consistent and just now got bit.”

Had Larson scored a respectable finish Sunday he would’ve advanced to the semifinals and been seeded third among the eight remaining playoff-eligible drivers. And he was on his way to doing just that,…

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