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At first glance, picking a driver currently going through an 81-race drought for the championship fight could seem crazy.
But that actually makes a lot of sense when it comes to Kyle Larson this season.
It is true that the Chip Ganassi driver hasn’t made it back to victory lane since Richmond in September 2017.
But #42 has also been one of the strongest runners during the Summer.
After scoring a third consecutive pole at his home track of Sonoma, Larson’s season suddenly got back on track.
Larson finished that race in tenth place, which, surprisingly, was his first top 10 at the Californian road course.
He went on to finish seven of the next nine races inside the top 10, including five inside the top 5.
More important than that, Larson has shown a significant improvement in pace during the races.
At the moment, it’s not that much of a stretch to call him Chevrolet’s leading driver.
And if this upward trend continues, he could very well be considered a potential candidate for the championship.
What: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, IN
When: Sunday, September 8th at 2:00 PM EST
How: NBC (TV) | IMS Radio Network (Web radio) | NBC Sports App
The 2019 season started off with some pressure on Larson.
After a breakout season in 2017, with four victories, he went winless in 2018.
The new year got off to a solid, if unspectacular start, with top 10s at Daytona and Phoenix while also leading the most laps at Atlanta.
After that, however, Larson had a terrible run of four DNFs in the following 13 races.
It put him close to the cutoff zone for the postseason as all Chevrolet teams struggled.
But as the Camaros slowly built up their pace, so did Larson.
It all started at Sonoma, his home track and a place where Larson usually struggled in racing conditions.
While it wasn’t a great showing, #42 scored a tenth place finish, his best result at the track.
He followed up on it with a near-miss at Chicago, finishing a close second behind Alex Bowman.
Larson scored four top 5 finishes in the next eight starts, including another second place at Darlington last weekend.
While he has yet to win again, that return to victory lane seems to be getting closer.
Not only viable, Larson would be a great pick to lift the trophy at Homestead.
Listed at relatively long odds, the potential payoff makes it worth placing a bet on Larson.
It is easy to point out his winless season in 2018 as a negative, but a closer look shows otherwise.
Larson still finished ninth in points, and had ten finishes inside the top 3 compared to 13 during his breakout season the year before.
Given how all Chevrolet teams struggled with the new Camaro, it wasn’t a bad season by any means.
One negative point is that Larson has never made it past the Round of 8.
And he came close to pulling it off last year with top 5s at Texas and Phoenix.
A DNF at Martinsville, however, killed off any chances he had at advancing.
Should Kyle Larson put his Round of 8 woes behind, though, he could even show up as an unlikely favorite.
The Chip Ganassi driver finished second and third at the Homestead finale in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Larson led the most laps in both races.
His positive record at Miami also solidifies Larson’s case for the championship.
It may be a risky pick, but betting on Kyle Larson is definitely worth some thought.
|Busch, Kyle||+325||Bet Now|
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|Logano, Joey||+800||Bet Now|
|Eliott, Chase||+1100||Bet Now|
|Busch, Kurt||+1600||Bet Now|
|Larson, Kyle||+1800||Bet Now|
|Jones, Erik||+2000||Bet Now|
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|Bowman, Alex||+3000||Bet Now|
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