Larson on possible Texas changes: "Anything would be better"

While looking ahead to Sunday's crucial playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway, reigning NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Larson is also looking further ahead to the future of the 25-year-old race track.

Larson on possible Texas changes: "Anything would be better"
Listen to this article

Texas Motor Speedway held its first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1997 in an event won by Jeff Burton. By 2005, the track had two dates on the schedule every year.

In 2017, the track was repaved and reconfigured. The profile of the 1.5-mile intermediate track was altered with the banking in Turns 1 and 2 reduced from 24 to 20 degrees, and the corner was widened from 60 to 80 feet.

As a result, the two ends of the race track became wildly different to drive and made for a unique challenge to drivers and teams. But few would say that the racing was made better by the changes.

The application of PJ1 traction compound in the upper grooves only made matters worse. In 2021, Texas lost one of its dates, but gained the All-Star Race at the same time. However, that too will be gone after this year, moved to the newly reopened North Wilkesboro in 2023. 

Read Also:

There have been discussions about giving TMS yet another facelift in order to improve the on-track product. Atlanta Motor Speedway, which has been turned into a pseudo-superspeedway that now produces pack racing similar to what we expect to see at Daytona and Talladega, could be the blueprint for these rumored changes. However, would drivers be happy with another race of chance filled with wrecks and unpredictable outcomes? 

"I would like to see them change it from a 1.5-mile track to something shorter," argued Kyle Larson. "I don’t know if that means bringing the backstretch in or whatever. If I could build a track, it would probably be a three-quarter mile Bristol, basically; pavement, progressive banking, all of that. But I don’t know if that’s even possible here.

"I’m not sure what they have in mind, but anything would be better than what they did.”

The championship battle

But for now, the track remains as-is and sits in a very a crucial part of the NASCAR Cup playoffs. It's the opening race in the Round of 12, and the other two races in this round are not ones you want to have to rely on.

Talladega and the Charlotte Roval will be chaotic, filled with incidents and outcomes that could change drastically mere feet from the finish line. Winning at Texas, or at least performing well, is paramount if a driver wants to sleep well over the next two weeks.

Ross Chastain, TrackHouse Racing, Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, M&M's Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry

Ross Chastain, TrackHouse Racing, Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, M&M's Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I think we probably all look at Texas (Motor Speedway) as a good opportunity to hopefully get a win, get locked-in and not have to worry about the next two races," said Larson.

"Texas, I feel like it’s a very strategy-driven type of race track. It’s really difficult to pass, so you’ll see some different varying pit strategies going on, whether it be staying out, fuel only, two tires, four tires. So just trying to have a good enough car to play that the right way and keep your track position. Having good pit stops and good restarts I think is important. It seems like all of that has been more important this year with just how difficult it’s been to pass.

"Hopefully our car is good. I felt good in the All-Star Race. Just blew a right-front tire pretty early on, so I didn’t really get a fair judge of how we were then to how we’ll be now. It’s much warmer conditions this week too, so I think that will change things a little bit. But yeah, hopefully it goes well.”

Larson starts ninth in Sunday's race, with RFK Racing's Brad Keselowski on pole position.

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Brad Keselowski takes pole position for RFK at Texas
Previous article

Brad Keselowski takes pole position for RFK at Texas

Next article

Playoff stars Elliott, Bell suffer Texas NASCAR Cup wrecks

Playoff stars Elliott, Bell suffer Texas NASCAR Cup wrecks
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021