On his way to winning the 2021 Cup Series, Kyle Larson won 10 races with NASCAR and several other awards during the week on a variety of track styles, including dirt. He didn’t do well when the Cup cars raced at the only time of the season on Bristol dirt.
Ahead of this year’s dirt race in Bristol, the Hendrick Motorsports driver shared his feelings on the track and what he thought NASCAR needed to do to improve going forward or else he was “wasting everyone’s time”. Last week during an interview, Larson gave his updated thoughts and didn’t utter his words.
Kyle Larson tells NASCAR changes must be made at the Bristol dirt race
Kyle Larson is without a doubt one of the most respected drivers in the Cup Series garage. And that’s not just because of his accomplishments in NASCAR but because he’s had the same level of success in other styles of racing. So you can bet other drivers and NASCAR officials were taking notice last month when he appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and made some harsh remarks about dirt racing in Bristol.
“The way I look at if we’re not going to remove the windshield, why are we racing on dirt? We shouldn’t be racing on dirt if we’re not going to remove the windshield and we’re already having dirt racing with moisture on the track and the ability to produce real dirt racing,” Larson said. “I feel like we’re wasting everyone’s time a little bit and not giving the fans and the opponents what we all deserve. In my opinion, if we weren’t going to remove the windshield, we might never put dirt on a Bristol again, which I’m all for not putting dirt on a Bristol, whether we had a windshield or not. I think the race in Bristol is just amazing as usual.”
Kyle Larson offers up-to-date ideas on dirt racing
After suffering an early shock and finishing 29th in 2021, Larson has stayed clean on Bristol ground this year, putting in a solid performance and finishing fourth. Despite this greatly improved score, the 29-year-old driver is still not a fan of NASCAR running on dirt in its current form.
He admitted just as much during his 12-question interview with Jeff Gluck of The Athletic last week when he was asked to look down the road for five years and decide what he was most optimistic about and what he was most concerned about.
On the plus side, the HMS driver said the next-generation car had produced fun racing and that cost savings for the teams was “promising”. He also said that veteran drivers are discussing the upcoming TV broadcasting contract and how it should provide an opportunity for teams and drivers to earn more money.
“The things I worry about? I can’t think of anything out of my head,” he said. “I feel like NASCAR continues to do a good job with the schedules and revamping that and adding some excitement. Maybe the only thing I’ll be nervous about is that I’m enjoying the road courses, but I don’t want too much of it. And no more dirt racing.”
He’s not the only Cale who feels this way
Five words. Larson could have finished his answer about not wanting more road courses, but he didn’t. He delivered that last little sentence to make sure everyone knows exactly what he thinks about racing on dirt in the future. But he’s not the only big-name driver who doesn’t like dirt racing in trophy cars.
Ironically, this year’s winner, Kyle Busch, revealed where he was standing before this year’s race when asked if NASCAR should cut the rope if the race didn’t go well.
“Cut the rope. As Richard Petty says, it takes our sport back,” Bush suggested.
Bush won. Larson finished fourth. The results confirm that the race went well for both. By all accounts, it was a general success. Speedway Motorsports, which owns the circuit, said the dirt will return in 2023.
If NASCAR officials are wise, they will now be at work trying to find a way to remove the windshield as Larson suggested and have the reigning champion and the series’ most accomplished dirt racer on their side. If not, they can expect more complaints in the future and he probably won’t be alone.
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