(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kyle Larson felt a cylinder drop, and then his engine failed. With a puff of smoke, his season was essentially ended and the playoffs took on a completely different look.
Martin Truex Jr. is the favorite to win NASCAR's championship, but if one driver had shown this season that he can beat Truex, it was Larson. He has been the best of the non-Toyota drivers this season, and if he could have made it to NASCAR's finale, he'd have had a head-to-head shot at stopping Truex.
But making it through NASCAR's elimination rounds is a whole lot harder than it looks on paper, and Larson was the surprise victim Sunday at Kansas Speedway. He was at a loss for words after the engine failure.