NASCAR Weekly: The Larson show goes on and on
Kyle Larson is the man of the moment in the NASCAR Cup Series – The Californian has won four races in a row – Among them was the All-Star race
NASCAR Cup Series (by André Wiegold)
Rick Hendrick will have a big grin on his lips, because his latest protégé Kyle Larson is currently dominating the action in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Californian, who was fired by Chip Ganassi last year after making a racist statement and later picked up by Hendrick Motorsports after his rehabilitation, has most recently won four races in a row – including the All-Star race.
After winning on the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Larson was also victorious at the Sonoma circuit in his home state behind the wheel of the #5 car. His third victory came at the All-Star race in Texas, which did not score any championship points but did fill the 28-year-old’s account considerably. Most recently, Larson turned into Victory Lane in the first Cup visit to Nashville Superspeedway
News from all areas
What’s next for Jeff Gordon? The Californian provided the answer this week: Gordon, who has won three titles as a driver along with Rick Hendrick and is part owner of the #48 car, will serve as vice chairman of the racing team, giving him an important role in the racing team. It also means Gordon will no longer be a commentator for Fox in 2022.
Things will be a little slower on the superspeedways in the future. Cup cars will be slowed down to 22 kilometers per hour on the big ovals to improve safety. This certainly won’t hurt the action, and the spectacle won’t change much either, as this braking will certainly hardly be noticeable to the naked eye.
Where to put all the new cars in the next-gen era, because it’s supposed to get pretty crowded: In 2022, the next-gen car will be introduced. As a result, established organizations are looking to upgrade to multiple cars, new teams are expanding, and racing teams are looking to move up from lower NASCAR leagues.
Justin Marks’ Trackhouse and pop musician Pitbull have also expressed interest in upgrading to two cars. As a reminder, there are only 36 total charters and 40 starting spots per race. GMS Racing, known from the Truck Series, also plans to run its first Cup races in 2022. The high level of interest is an indication that cost-cutting is working and profitability is being increased.
NASCAR Xfinity Series (by André Wiegold).
AJ Allmendinger won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio. The veteran edged out Kaulig teammate Justin Haley on the final laps. Kaulig also plans to compete in the Cup Series next year, fielding two cars in the top tier. To that end, the team has purchased two charters from Spire Motorsports.
Spire Motorsports will retain a charter agreement for Corey LaJoie’s Cup car. In the Xfinity races at Texas and Nashville, Kyle Busch, who now has 100 Xfinity wins under his belt, beat out the competition.
Loris Hezemans will make his second Xfinity start in 2021 at Pocono Raceway. The Dutchman, who currently leads the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series standings and won the championship in 2019, will pilot the #90 Camaro fielded by DGM Motorsports Camaro supported by Reaume Brothers Racing.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (by Simon Mones).
It’s John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) season. Just two weeks after his win in Charlotte, the 24-year-old has now won the race in Texas, his fourth visit to Victory Lane.
In the closing stages of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Nemechek prevailed over Chase Elliott. The reigning Cup champion was in the lead before the final pit stops, but the KBM driver – who came in for service a lap later – got the better stop under green. Instead of Elliott, Nemechek now led and he never relinquished the lead until the finish.
Chastain disqualified in Texas
The race in Texas went less well for another prominent guest from the Cup Series. Ross Chastain finished third in his guest start for Niece Motorsports, but his truck did not pass post-race inspection.
According to NASCAR, his truck had violated a rule stating that the throttle body must be used as supplied by the NT1 engine supplier without modification. Accordingly, Chastain was disqualified.
Truck returns to Nashville
It has been ten years since the Truck Series last raced at Nashville Superspeedway. Last weekend, the time had come and the series celebrated its comeback. In a thrilling finish, Ryan Preece (DGR-Crosley) edged out the competition.
The 30-year-old took the lead from Grant Enfinger with just seven laps to go. “This truck was just awesome – hats off to this team,” Preece said. “Just great, great (pit) calls all night. This is awesome. I knew I was aggressive and I pulled some big blocks but that’s what it took to get here today in Victory Lane. I’m super-proud of everybody with this team and of this opportunity. It was just the third win in a NASCAR national series for Preece, with the 30-year-old most recently winning in the Xfinity Series in 2017 and 2018.