Here’s a roundup of the conversation that took place Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway…
— Kyle Larson wants NASCAR to stay out of the dirt game
Despite the success of the Eldora Truck race leading some in the NASCAR world — including Tony Stewart — to stump for an Xfinity or Cup show on a dirt track, Kyle Larson doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
“Tony is probably going to get mad, but I would like to see it just stay as it is,” Larson said. “I wouldn’t like to see Cup on dirt. To me, Cup belongs on pavement and real road course tracks.
“If we went to Eldora, yeah, I would be excited because I would be really fast and I feel like I would definitely have the best shot to win. But at the same time, I think we are fine not going there.”
Why not? Well, Larson seemed to indicate it wouldn’t be a very good show.
“Maybe if Goodyear could make a way better tire and us be actually able to use the horsepower — or even more horsepower in our Cup cars — on a dirt track, I think it would be a lot more fun,” he said. “I don’t really know how to answer the question without making people mad.”
— Denny Hamlin says schedule changes are a fantasy.
People have been chiming in with their opinions on possible schedule changes this week (more short tracks, dirt and road courses among the proposals), but Denny Hamlin says the whole conversation is pointless.
Asked about racing on Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Hamlin said he’d “love to,” but…
“Honestly, none of this is ever going to happen,” he said. “Not until these tracks and NASCAR get together and are willing to make changes. No track is going to give up tens of millions of dollars every time the race cars show up at the racetrack, so it’s going to have take a bold change.
“It’s going to have to take someone way high up saying, ‘We’re making changes and this is what we’re going to do,’ for it to happen. But it definitely won’t happen in the next few years until that contract (through 2020) is over with.”
— Martin Truex Jr. wishes 5-hour decision had come sooner
Defending Cup Series champ Martin Truex Jr. said he wasn’t totally surprised by the decision for sponsor 5-hour Energy to leave the sport — company executives had been “on the fence for awhile,” he said — but the timing leaves Furniture Row Racing in somewhat of a bind.
“I wish it didn’t take quite as long as it did and (it) kind of puts us in a tough spot now,” Truex said. “… I don’t see (team owner) Barney (Visser) putting Furniture Row back on the car and doing that. I don’t know that he can make that work anymore. So we’ll see where it goes from here.”
Truex said he was optimistic the team would be able to find a new sponsor and also still plans to sign a contract extension with the team (his current deal expires at the end of the season). But despite the typical Silly Season months starting to arrive, Truex said he wasn’t too concerned with a contract yet.
“It’s not really a pressing issue for me,” he said. “I know what the team wants. I know where we’re all at. It’s not like I’m nervous they’re going to sign somebody else or I’m going to be searching for a ride. It’s nothing like that. It’s more just trying to focus on racing and feeling like it will get done when it gets done.”
— Joey Logano says New Hampshire could be a case study for tracks having one race.
NASCAR has oversaturated markets like Pocono, Michigan and Kansas by running two races per season at those tracks. Joey Logano is wondering how New Hampshire will respond to having its calendar reduced.
“I think if you go to a racetrack once, it makes it more of an event,” he said. “This weekend will be a great test to see how that works as Loudon goes from two to one. When you think there are two races and you’re a fan that can only afford to go to one, you’re most likely going to choose the playoff race here.
“So it will be interesting to see what the stands look like on Sunday, because now it’s an event. You can’t miss this one and have a chance to go to the next one.”