Kyle Larson: I’m Just As Motivated Now As I Was Four Weeks Agoby Hunter Thomas October 29, 2022 0 comments
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Although Kyle Larson isn’t competing for the Championship, he’s going to give it everything he has to help Hendrick Motorsports win the owner’s title and finish out the 2022 season strong.
Following the NASCAR Playoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, the defending series champion was surprisingly eliminated from championship contention; however, last weekend, Larson returned to his winning ways as he dominated at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Many wonder, what if? What if Larson had advanced to the Round of 8 and then to the Championship 4 with his most recent win? Regardless, he didn’t and now the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 team is focused on winning the owner’s championship.
“I view it as we need to keep running good so we can go win an owner’s title next week,” Larson said. “I don’t view it any differently than if I was in the Round of 8 or not. Maybe I would think differently had I not won the championship last year. I would probably be a little bit more bummed internally. But I’m just as motivated now as I was four weeks ago. It was great to win last weekend and get the pole here today, and I would love to continue the momentum throughout the race tomorrow to help us go have a good run next week.”
Martinsville Speedway isn’t historically a strong track for Larson, but on Saturday, he won the pole for Sunday’s Xfinity 500, marking the fifth of the season and the first at Martinsville. In 15 NASCAR Cup Series starts at the track, Larson has only captured two top-five finishes, but Hendrick Motorsports has a long history of running strong at Martinsville, so maybe he’ll surprise himself and fans if he competes for the win.
“I struggle at this place,” Larson said. “I can put some good laps together, but I’m pretty inconsistent. I don’t think that’s a car thing. I think my car is really good; that shows with my teammates and how well they’ve run here the last few years. I’ve worked really hard to get better here. I still don’t quite have it figured out, or even close to figured out, but days like today help give you a little more confidence.”
This weekend marks Bubba Wallace’s return to the track after he and Larson got into an altercation at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bubba felt that Larson ran him up the track and then retaliated by crashing him and then physically pushing him. NASCAR sidelined Wallace for a race weekend, and since then, he has spoken with Larson. On Saturday at Martinsville, Larson said that the conversation went really well and that he hopes to put the incident behind him, so don’t expect any additional tempers at Martinsville on Sunday.
“I came downstairs and told my wife that Bubba (Wallace) and I had a great conversation,” Larson said. “I thought it went really well and I think we’ve both moved on from it really fast. It was good to have a talk; good to just talk over the frustrations and mistakes on both of our parts. Move on and forget about it, and get back to racing. I feel like we’ve raced really well together in the past. Hopefully I don’t make any more mistakes and we can continue to race good.”
The NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 will broadcast live on NBC and MRN at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com