Larson: “I just get really excited about this place because it kinda races like a dirt track.”
At heart, Kyle Larson is a dirt racer. There’s not dirt track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule. However, Bristol Motor Speedway feature two lanes and sometimes 3, just like your local dirt track.
In the past, Kyle Larson has stated that he didn’t like Bristol when it was one groove around the bottom. If it’s going to be one lane, he prefers one lane around the top.
But, the Bristol Motor Speedway staff have found a good solution to put both lanes to work. With VHT or ‘Bristol Bite’ inline with some pre-rubber track prep, the bottom lane has some extra grip.
“Lap traffic, it’s so much fun here. And you catch it in 15 laps. Then, you’re just carving through it,” Kyle Larson said on Friday while speaking on Bristol Motor Speedway.
“You catch a guy and you go to wherever they’re not. It’s fun to have options like that.”
“I was watching the race back. I just get really excited about this place because it kinda races like a dirt track. And that’s a lot of fun.”
Has short track racing changed in NASCAR? Is it less physical on the Cup Series?
This is Kyle Larson’s 5th year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He run 8 races at the World’s Fastest Half Mile. He started on the pole in April 2017 and has an average finish of 18th.
“Moving people out of the way and stuff like that. That hasn’t changed, at least since I’ve been in the Cup Series. If anything, maybe a little bit more.”
“Back in the day, the bumpers didn’t line up. Somebody could get to the back bumper and just spin them out.”
“There’s probably more contact now. But, it doesn’t result in people spinning out of crashing. Now that our bumpers line up you can kinda shove people out of the way or run into them a couple times to let them know that you’re faster than they are. Then, they typically get out of your way.”
“I think it’s just a product of the race car bumpers lining up better now.”
Today, Kyle Larson will start 6th in the 500 lap race in Bristol, Tennessee. In the last 5 Bristol races Kyle Larson has finished behind where he started.
“I don’t know why I seam to struggle. It seams like everybody else just becomes a little bit than I do in the second half of the race [at Bristol]. Maybe this weekend will be different.”
The top groove never came in on Saturday. Kyle Larson attempted to clean the groove in final practice. There was nothing but marbles up there. He was probably running laps 10 seconds off the pace while sliding through the marbles.
Larson eventually gave up on the top groove in final practice. He moved to the bottom with 25 minutes remaining. Larson was 22nd quick in the final round of practice on Saturday.