HOMESTEAD, Fla. – If there is a track that has been pesky with Kyle Larson, especially throughout his NASCAR Cup Series career, it is Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Larson has been frustratingly close toward tallying multiple victories at the venerable 1.5-mile speedway. Namely, his bids from 2016 to 2019 and last year stand out.
Last year, the Elk Grove, California native made his presence known in his third start with his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team, qualifying 17th, leading for four laps and placing fourth.
With 12 wins and a Cup championship to boot since last year’s Dixie Vodka 400, it has been a relatively great time for Larson.
Naturally, some of the focus with Larson is how he will take to his next Cup race after his tangle with Bubba Wallace last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Much like his stance following the controversial crash, Larson seemed unphased and more set on moving forward for his No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro crewmates.
Logging the fifth fastest time in qualifying, Larson shows no signs of slowing down, intent on maximizing on race weekends for a respectable finish to the 2022 season.
After participating in a recent test session at Homestead-Miami, Larson seems prepared for a promising Sunday afternoon, especially with his love of running the high line.
“I think this car is just a little different at Homestead-Miami,” Larson said in a team press release. “Nothing crazy. I think running the wall is a little bit easier but maybe not way faster than it used to be compared to the other lanes.”
In particular, Larson and his peers can turn to gear shifting, a relatively new aspect at a track like Homestead-Miami. Once drivers venture around the track for several laps, it may come down to this new intangible for quality, long run speed.
Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 team, feels genuinely confident about his team’s chances given his driver’s past performances and recent test session showing.
“The Next Gen car is definitely a different beast at Homestead-Miami than the car of the past,” Daniels noted. “We had a good test there a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure the track will still be a little bit different when we get there and get all the cars out there and get some rubber on the track.
“With Kyle Larson’s history of always running really well there, I have a lot of confidence in him. Hopefully, we can take what we learned at the test and put a good car on track for Sunday.”
Despite being eliminated from the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after the Charlotte ROVAL race on Oct. 9, Larson’s mission remains the same with winning races and scoring the best possible points finish in the driver’s standings.
Still, while Larson will be one of many drivers who will be “riding the fence,” he points out the logistical challenges with moving up the scoring ladder with the new car.
“I still think it is just a lot easier to run the wall than before,” Larson observed. “You may see more people up there and it may be a little bit harder to pass than in the past.”