Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 looking for redemption after disappointing ends to promising 2017 seasons.
Larson won four races and was at or near the top of the points for much of the season a year ago and McMurray had one of the most consistent seasons of his career, but both failed to advance past the Round of 12 after struggling in middle portion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Larson set career bests with four wins, 15 top five and 20 top-10 finishes, 1,352 laps led and average finish of 13.3 in 2017. If it weren't for a blown engine at Kansas in the final race of the Round of 12, he may have been part of the Championship hunt at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Still, Larson said 2017 was one of the best of his career and is looking for similar results in 2018.
"It's been an up and down ride with Chip Ganassi Racing since my rookie season. We'll have good races and bad races. That was the first year where I felt competitive every weekend and knew going to the track we'd have a shot to at least get a Top-five and maybe a win," Larson said. "I'm hoping with the new Camaro we can be even better than we were this year."
"I'd like to think we could start out as good as last year if not better. You never know until you get to maybe not Daytona but Atlanta and the West Coast Swing that's when you get a better idea of how your year is going to be. We were lucky enough to have a great start to the season last year and we were able to carry that momentum through the rest of the season."
Larson's 2018 season already got off to a solid start as he paced the field during a two-day organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week.
"I feel good about it, and it's been great to get back in a stock car after a couple months," Larson said. "It felt like we had good speed, especially on that last long run we made. I feel like it was a good test, and it's nice to know we still have a lot of speed in our cars with all the changes to the new Camaro."
McMurray's 17 top-10 finishes in 2017 were the most in a season for the Joplin, Missouri native since 2004 when he scored 23 top 10s. But crashes at Talladega and Kansas in the Round of 12 ended his championship hopes.
Now he's looking to build on his 2017 momentum in 2018 in what he calls an interesting year with several changes coming for teams including a reduction in over the wall crew members, new air guns for tire changers and the addition of the Chevrolet Camaro.