Kyle Larson adds fourth DNF to 2022 resume at Darlington

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson registered his fourth DNF of 2022 on Sunday at Darlington Raceway. That’s double his 2021 total. And he’s only 12 races into this 36-race season.

RELATED: Watch Larson’s spin | At-track photos

Larson pitted his No. 5 Chevrolet from the 10th running position due to engine trouble on Lap 112 of 293 in the Goodyear 400. His Hendrick Motorsports crew went to work under the hood, but ultimately, the car was retired from competition during Stage 1. He wound up 36th of 36 on the results sheet. Joey Logano won.

“With these, you don’t really want to lock the tires down because you get a flat and it really tears your car up,” Larson told FOX Sports. “So I definitely rolled (backward) some, but that was my concern with why we blew up. But they said that probably didn’t have anything to do with it.

“Bummer, our car was super good today, so that’s promising. I feel like maybe we hit on something here this weekend. But yeah, I hate that I’m not going to get the finish we deserved. But like I said, I’m proud of my team for the car they brought today.”

RELATED: Official race results

At the end of Stage 1, which ended on Lap 90, Larson was 13th. He fired off from second when the green flag waved and led twice for 30 laps. He had a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 54 that drew a caution.

Larson’s three other DNFs came in Race 1 at Daytona International Speedway (crash), Race 4 at Phoenix Raceway (engine) and Race 5 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (crash). Thankfully for the No. 5 driver and crew, Larson already has a tally in the win column from Auto Club Speedway (Race 2), meaning he has provisionally qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs by virtue of a victory. He entered Sunday’s race ranked eighth in the standings, 83 points off leader and teammate Chase Elliott. Larson is now ninth and 117 points back.