“We’ve kind of been plagued by like one little mistake here or there,” Cliff Daniels reflects on the tough season with Kyle Larson

“We’ve kind of been plagued by like one little mistake here or there,” Cliff Daniels reflects on the tough season with Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson and Cliff Daniels

Kyle Larson had one of the best, if not the best, championship-winning run a driver can hope for in 2021 as he won the championship in a dominant fashion securing 10 race wins along with topping the charts in laps led, stage wins, and top 10 finishes. The Californian’s maiden championship win in his debut season with HMS assented him from the conversation of NASCAR driver with championship potential to one of the greats of the sport.

Coming to 2022, Kyle Larson, similar to the situation his teammate Chase Elliott got in 2021 after winning the championship in 2020, has been having a tough time at the track as he isn’t as dominant as he used to be. Larson has two wins and 11 top 10 finishes this season, 8 of which are top 5 finishes, which clearly shows the struggles the defending champion had in converting his front raw runs to a win.

Kyle Larson did show signs of a resurgence of his form and confidence before the playoff as he won the penultimate cup race of the season at Watkins Glen by bumping teammate Chase Elliott, who has been the dominant driver of the season, in the final restart. Now Kyle Larson No:5 team Crew Chief Cliff Daniels has come forth expressing his thoughts on the tough season the defending champion had.

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Find out what Cliff Daniels had to say

Cliff Daniels
Kyle Larson with his crew chief Cliff Daniels

Cliff Daniels acknowledged that the season has been tough for the team, and a lot of misses had to do with him. He pointed out that he is the leader and coach for the pit crew, the road crew, and everyone at the shop, as he has a lot of races to cover as the crew chief.

It’s been tough, and a lot of that I’ve got to say starts with me. I’m the leader of the team; I help coach him, the pit crew, the road crew, and all the guys at the shop. There are a lot of different areas that I have to cover,” Cliff Daniels said.

Cliff Daniels added that the team had been plagued by little mistakes here and there though out the summer.  He pointed out that the group had trouble with pit calls, pit crew, or restarts which impacted their final finish in the day where they would have gotten a good finish.

“…For whatever reason or another, all summer, we’ve kind of been plagued by like one little mistake here or there. If it’s been a pit call or a pit stop or a restart or some little thing that has impacted our day and kept us from getting a good finish,” Cliff Daniels added.

The championship-winning crew chief pointed out that he takes the blame for most of the errors they have committed and pointed out that they had a lot of honest conversations with the team about the situation they were in. He points out that the team did mess up their final execution, which prevented them from having good finishes, even after having one of the best drivers in Larson and a team like Hendrick Motorsports.

“I take a lot of that to heart. We have a lot of very honest conversations within our team about what we have to do … when you have one of the best drivers, if not the best driver in the world, and all the talent in our team that we had last year, and all of the folks at Hendrick Motorsports giving us great cars and engines, and all the things that they have given us, it really does boil down to execution,” Cliff Daniels explained.

He added that the Next-Gen cars had produced a different challenge to the team regarding executing a race, managing tire falloff, and collecting strategy. Etc. He reiterated that he certainly owns a share of mistakes that’s been committed in the tough part of the season.

I will say the Next Gen car has presented a completely different challenge for executing a race, managing tire falloff, managing strategy, a lot of things that we wanted it to bring about… I certainly own the share of mistakes that I’ve made in that,” says Cliff Daniels.

Talking about the not-so-clean race they had last time around when Larson got the win over teammate Chase Elliott the Camaro ZL1 crew chief acknowledged that they will be smart and supportive in the coming races to the Chevy teammates and HMS teammates. He added that at the same time, they would make sure they have a shot at the win in the end.

“We’re going to try to be smart, be a good teammate to the Chevrolet guys, to the Hendrick guys how and when we can, and certainly, we have to protect ourselves and make sure we have a shot at the end,” added Cliff Daniels.

Will Kyle Larson win the 2022 championship?

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