Larson won the B1 Friday at Road America, setting a top qualifying speed of 108,495 mph and completing a lap around the 4.048-mile road course in 134,318 seconds. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs will line up next to Larson after landing 0.573 mph and 0.713 seconds slower. Larson was the only one in the field of 38 drivers to break the 108 mph mark.
“It was frankly surprising when I read that it had been since 2018,” Larson said. “Haven’t felt like that in a long time. But yeah, I don’t know. Just getting into the car, I guess. Driving stuff whatever. It’s just like the tag pictures and gauges, it’s a different style dash than I was used to when I was racing the Xfinity for (Chip)” ) Ganassi. So, just the little things like that. It’s hard to adapt to at first, but once you’re there, it kind of feels natural and it’s just another stock car at that point.”
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Hendrick Motorsports’ entry marks the team’s first in the Xfinity series since 2009. Tony Stewart was the last to drive Hendrick Motorsports inside the Division II level, winning the inaugural season at Daytona International Speedway. Team owner Rick Hendrick holds 23 Xfinity Series wins in 339 starts.
Larson’s return to Road America is the first of three Xfinity Series races Hendrick Motorsports has committed to in 2022. Alex Bowman will start for the first time since 2018 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30. William Byron will run his second race of the season. – Appeared at JR Motorsports at Texas Motor Speedway back in May; He finished second – at Watkins Glen International on August 20.
The three engines combine for 17 Xfinity Series wins. Byron adds a championship from 2017.
“I am looking forward to competing with a lot of promising youngsters, and I am sure they are looking forward to competing with me as well,” Larson said. “It’s supposed to be a lot of fun this weekend, and for the other couple, I’m going to run the rest of the year.”
Larson alone has started 108 careers in the Xfinity Series, running from 2013-18. He has racked up 12 wins, most recently at 2018 at Bristol Motor Speedway. That year, he won four of the six races he participated in. He ran a part-time schedule every year but 2013, when he finished eighth in the season standings.
During that full-time gig, Larson was introduced to Road America. He came in seventh, and didn’t drive any laps. His next encounter with the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track, didn’t come until 2021 in the Cup Series, where he placed 16th.
“I chose this because I’ve only raced here twice,” Larson said. “I don’t remember all the racing I had here in 2013, but I don’t remember being that fast. And then, in the Cup race last year, it was probably our worst track of the season. So it was important for me to run in this race. And that I just try to learn something on every lap.”