Sean Gardner | Getty Images
Editor’s note: Kyle Larson will be spotlighted in USA Network’s new unscripted series “Race for the Championship” airing this fall. The first episode is Thursday, Sept. 1, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Watch the trailer here.
After Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, noted road-course expert AJ Allmendinger offered high praise for race winner Kyle Larson, calling the 2021 champion ‘the most badass driver on the planet right now.’ The comments came after Larson outdueled Allmendinger in both the Xfinity and Cup Series races for a weekend sweep.
RELATED: Larson’s Cup wins | Xfinity Series standings
As Larson prepared for Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (7 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, MRN, SiriusXM), the Hendrick Motorsports driver said what it meant to receive that compliment.
“That means a lot to me. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him,” Larson said. “Coming from a guy who’s got a versatile background of racing, too, it made me feel really good. Having him breathing down my neck both days was definitely a nervous feeling. It makes you happier when you beat a guy like that.”
Both Allmendinger and Larson have developed a knack for exceptional driving on road courses. Larson picked up victories at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval last season while Allmendinger’s two career Cup wins have come on road courses (Watkins Glen, Indy Road Course) and nine of his 13 Xfinity wins have come on tracks with left and right turns.
In the past, Allmendinger could only display his road-course prowess twice every season with Sonoma and Watkins Glen making up the entire road-course schedule, but NASCAR’s willingness to build a diverse schedule has created more opportunities for Allmendinger and other road-course aces to display their exceptional talent.
Even though road courses weren’t prominent a few years ago, Larson said that he always felt he could be successful on them despite the results not showing before 2021.
“Speaking for myself, I took them pretty serious even when there were only two,” Larson said. “For the drivers who maybe didn’t feel like they’re a good road racer, I feel like now they maybe spend more time in the simulator and doing things to try to get themselves better because there is more of them. I feel like I’ve always adapted well to road courses. Before I got to Hendrick, I never was like a good driver in the race because I felt like my car wasn’t capable of being good on the long runs.”
While competing against each other during a handful of weekends in the Cup and Xfinity Series this season, Larson emphasized that he’s a big fan of Allmendinger and will be cheering for the driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet through the remainder of the Xfinity Series season. Allmendinger currently is the series points leader and a championship favorite.
“I look forward to seeing how he does in the Xfinity Series as we progress this season,” Larson said. “I’ve been cheering for him the most out of everybody for the last couple of years because he’s kinda the underdog in my eyes. I’ll be cheering him on and hoping to see him win a championship.”
Larson will have one more shot at another road-course win this season in the Round of 12 finale at the Charlotte Roval — a race he won last year in route to a series championship.
This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here