Sport Analysis: Dirt racing pedigrees translate to road course success
NASCAR betting: Larson closing road-course gap, plus picks to consider at Brickyard
Kyle Larson is closing the gap on teammate Chase Elliott when it comes to the betting market‘s expectations on road courses. Larson is as skinny as +280 (bet $100 to win $280) at BetMGM to take the checkers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday, a significantly shorter price than the +450 he […]Despite finishing second to Larson last week, Elliott remains the road-course favorite, offered at +200 at multiple shops for this week‘s race, the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. He has piloted the No. 9 Chevrolet to six wins and two second-place finishes over the 10 most recent road-course races in the Cup Series .
There’s a through line from dirt open-wheel racing to success in NASCAR road course races, a connection that dates back four decades.
Five of’s 13 career race wins took place on road courses, including four at the 2.62-mile Riverside Speedway in California. Jeff Gordon secured 10 road course victories, with six in a row emanating from 1997-2000. Tony Stewart earned a combined eight wins at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, including his final Cup Series triumph in 2016 at the former.
That apparent translation from dirt open-wheel racing to Cup Series road races persists with the recent successes ofand , both road course race winners in 2021.
NASCAR releases 2022 Xfinity, Truck schedules
The Xfinity Series will race at Portland International Raceway. The Trucks will return to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for the first time since 2011.The Xfinity race at the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway marks the first time a NASCAR national series has raced there since the Trucks ran there in 1999 and 2000.
Larson sees the connection between dirt racing and road racing, pinpointing the “feel” of his vehicle as the denominator linking the two forms of driving.
“I’ve always felt like I can feel the car better — a lot better — on a road course because you get more movement of the car,” Larson said. “On an oval, we’re just kind of static the whole time. It’s hard for me to feel because there is no roll or anything like that. On a road course, you can feel the car flex up.”
Larson’s preference for feeling the weight transfer of his car while turning (the “roll”) stems from his formative years on dirt, a genre of auto racing he continues to frequent with success. It’s the feeling with which he’s most familiar, one that assists him in traversing through corners.
2022 NASCAR Xfinity & Camping World Truck Series Silly Season tracker
Our 2022 Silly Season Tracker is below, listing what we know for full-time NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams in 2021. We’ll update this page as teams finalize their plans for next season. Anything highlighted in red indicates news on that driver and ride for beyond 2021, and clicking on the red […]NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Silly Season
“It just kind of fits my brain a little bit better,” he said.
Through 20 career Cup Series starts on road courses, Larson holdsof 2.075, a formidable mark boosted by his two victories this season at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Prior to this season, his first behind the wheel for road course stalwart Hendrick Motorsports, he displayed flashes of road course brilliance including three pole wins at Sonoma and a 2018 Roval showing in which he led a race-high 43% of the contest in what timing and scoring data measured as the fastest car of the event.
This season, piloting a Hendrick car that ranks second in average median lap time on road courses (trailing only teammate), Larson has been diligent on offense and stingy on defense when it comes to procuring and protecting track position. He ranks third in position retention rate on restarts (88%) and secured surplus adjusted pass differentials 15 and 11 positions beyond his statistical expectation in his wins at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, respectively.
NASCAR Cup storylines: Indy road course
NASCAR Cup storylines are plentiful entering this weekend's road course (yes, road course) action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ’ Getting to go out on that racetrack and hearing the echoes of the cars through the grandstand is something that I’ll never forget, standing there on the front straightaway. “I’m sure I’ll get over it as we start to get into practice and realize it’s just another race. But, for me, it’s going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
Road course races tend to focus exclusively on track position — the Roval included — and Larson is one of a few drivers who can be counted on to create more than his anticipated share of positions. As such,.
Not quite a favorite but certainly capable of fetching a win this weekend is Bell, a fellow dirt track graduate and Larson’s arch rival every winter at the Chili Bowl Nationals. His win this past February on Daytona’s road course was a surprise in the moment. He, like Larson, sees the link from high-banked dirt bullrings to sprawling road courses with riddling corners.
“I would say the big thing is just being able to adapt,” Bell said. “Because the corners are all so different and it’s all really unique. (In) dirt track racing, you’re always having to adapt and improvise. And I think that really relates to road course racing.”
Bell is one of the best short-run road course racers currently in the Cup Series. His 94.12% position retention rate on restarts ranks second (trailing’s 94.74% rate) as does his 18 position-net gain within two laps of the restart (only , with +19, has a higher total).
What drivers said after Talladega
Five races down, five to go in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Here's what drivers said after the Round of 12 race at Talladega.Bubba Wallace – Winner: “It’s really cool and humbling. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff as every athlete would. I’ve thought about this moment a lot and it’s not your traditional burnout and celebration in victory lane, which is unfortunate. This was the same feeling I had going into Martinsville 2013. Just prepared more than ever and I didn’t even do anything different. Just something clicked. I was like, I want to be more aggressive and make sure that we’re there at the end. Didn’t know the end would be the rain, but just had to be there.
, Bell has embraced the difficulty of a motorsport genre foreign to those with dirt-centric upbringings. Road racing is now more comfortable, reminding him of the “feel” to which he’s grown accustomed.
“I enjoy the challenge of it,” he said. “You’re slipping and sliding and you can really feel the car move around, which is something a little bit different than the short tracks or the mile-and-a-halves.”
The competitive link from dirt to right-hand corners extends toand . Both drivers have delivered memorable road course performances this season.
Reddick captured three stage victories on road courses this past summer and, after working to improve his road racing acumen with former Formula 1 and NASCAR driver Scott Speed, is enjoying a heightened passing acumen.
His -5.93% surplus passing value on road courses last year ranked as the second-worst mark of any Cup driver over the last two seasons. This year, his +1.03% SPV fares as the 10th best, good enough for a pass differential 28 positions better than his statistical expectation.
Briscoe,, scored a win on the Roval in the 2018 Xfinity Series race. He was in position to contend for a victory this year in the waning laps of the Indianapolis road course race before contact with and a flubbed corner squashed his chance at a good finish. All three of his top-10 finishes this season came on road courses. Races at COTA and Indianapolis were the only contests in which Briscoe and his car ranked inside the top 10 for median lap time.
Charlotte Roval storylines: Twists of fate
Can Chase Elliott claim his third straight Roval win on Sunday and advance in the Cup playoffs? That's among this week's key NASCAR storylines.Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, has been stout at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval since it debuted in 2018. After finishing sixth in the Roval’s inaugural Cup race, he’s won the last two in 2019 and 2020.
This current generation of former dirt racers are picking up where their predecessors left off, among NASCAR’s consummate favorites for wins and sterling performances on road courses.
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Kyle Larson lands Busch Pole for Kansas playoff race .
Kyle Larson earned the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8. RELATED: Kansas weekend schedule | Cup Series standings Larson, winner of last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor […]Larson, winner of last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, will start on pole for the 10th time in 2021 in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.