Larson: No disadvantage for Chevy this season

Press Conference-8272

Kyle Larson speaks to the media at Michigan International Speedway Friday. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

BROOKLYN, MICH. — While the talk of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season so far has been the disadvantage the new Chevrolet Camaro has versus the Fords and the Toyotas, but defending Firekeepers Casino 400 winner Kyle Larson said Friday during media availability that he’s not buying it.

“I’ve never felt like Chevys have been at a disadvantage this year,” Larson said. “Our team has been pretty solid every race. I think some of the teams maybe just use it as an excuse where we don’t do that.”

After 14 races this season, Larson has five top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He has yet to get a win. Last year Larson was coming into the June MIS race with a victory at Auto Club Speedway.

“Obviously I don’t think we’re as fast as we were at this point last year, but I don’t think we’re that far off either,” Larson said. “Honestly, I feel like maybe we’re kind of where we were at last year, just other teams are a little bit better.”

If Larson wins Sunday, he will become only the second driver in the 50-year history of the track to win four Cup Series races in a row. But he said that isn’t on his mind at this point.

“I don’t really think about it,” Larson said. “It’s honestly just another race to me. I think it’d hit me, I think the importance of it and I would really feel how special it is when we’re standing in victory lane after the race. I think everything before that though, I try not to focus on it or worry about it. Just go out there and do what we do as a team and try to get a win.”

That being said, Larson said it would be special to tie a record set by Bill Elliott with four in a row.

“For sure it’d be special if we did get that fourth win, and then I think you’d start thinking about breaking that record of getting five in a row,” he said. “But there’s no guarantees that we’re going to win this weekend. I would say this one would be tougher than any of them just looking at how fast those three guys (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.) are right now.”

Larson said he is optimistic how the season has been so far and added the team continues to improve.

“We’re making our cars better every week,” he said. “The guys in the shop are really excited about every car that we’ve been bringing to the track because there’s little things that have made them better each week. That’s exciting. I feel like the engine department with Hendrick engines, I don’t think we’re lacking there at all. They’re doing a really good job. We just have to get probably some more downforce and just overall performance and at least the 42 team will be right there competing for wins.”

The Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway is Sunday. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify at 4:10 p.m. Friday.

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins Detroit Grand Prix Dual 2

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DETROIT — Alexander Rossi had the starting position and the strategy to get a win on Belle Isle during the second of two races Sunday in the Detroit Grand Prix Dual 2. But after pressure from teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps, Rossi locked up his tires on two consecutive laps going into turn three — the second time missing the turn and handing the lead to Hunter-Reay.

And that was all Hunter-Reay needed to earn his first victory in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2015. After chasing down Rossi and taking over the lead, Hunter-Reay led the last seven laps of the race to take the victory. Rossi would end up with a flat tire and fell to 12th in the final finishing order.

Will Power backed up his Indianapolis 500 win one week prior with a second-place finish his his Team Penske, Chevrolet-powered car, coming up just one spot short of getting Roger Penske a win at the race that he brought back to Detroit. Ed Jones would finish out the podium in third.

Rossi’s problems dropped him from first in the points to third. Will Power took over the points lead with 309 points over Scott Dixon in second with 304. Dixon won the first of the two Detroit Grand Prix duals. Ryan Hunter-Reay is fourth in points with Josef Newgarden in fifth.

The Verizon IndyCar series heads to Texas Motor Speedway Saturday this Saturday, June 9, for the DXC Technology 600.

Pure Michigan 400 Weekend Schedule


original.pngBROOKLYN, MI — The Nascar Camping World Truck Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series invade the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend as they make their final stop in the Great Lakes State in the 2017 schedule.

The Camping World Truck Series drivers will compete in the LTi Printing 200 on Saturday, with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series taking to the track Sunday for the Pure Michigan 400.

Action gets started on the track Friday with practice for both series and qualifying for the Monster Energy drivers. Saturday the trucks qualify and the Cup cars have their final practice before the truck series takes the green flag.

Below is the tentative weekend schedule for all the on-track action at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.

Friday, Aug. 11

11:30 a.m.-12:55 p.m. — First MENCS Practice

1 p.m.-1:55 p.m. — First NCWTS Practice

3 p.m.-3:55 p.m. — Final NCWTS Practice

5:05 p.m. — MENCS Qualifying

Saturday, Aug. 12

8:30 a.m.-9:25 a.m. — Second MENCS Practice

9:30 a.m. — NCWTS Qualifying

11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. — MENCS Final Practice

12:30 p.m. — NCWTS Driver Introductions

1 p.m. — Nascar Camping World Truck Series LTi Printing 200 (100 laps, 200 miles)

Sunday, Aug. 13

2:20 p.m. — MENCS Driver Introductions

3 p.m. — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 (200 laps, 400 miles)