NASCAR present, future battle in Phoenix Nationwide race


The "good old days" ??
Jul 4, 2011
New York
I watched this battle closely and wonder if anyone else did. JJ was trying every trick in the book

to beat Larson, which he eventually did, but it was fun watching the rookie more than hold his own. I wondered if JJ was enjoying himself.......but he wasn't. I warned him about assuming the gentlemans agreement would be in effect for a NW race. ;)

Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports8:47p.m. EST March 2, 2013

Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson's battle represented NASCAR's present and future on Saturday in Phoenix.


Jimmie Johnson, left, drives alongside Kyle Larson during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Like a pair of magnets, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and newcomer Kyle Larson could not get away from each other during Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Phoenix.
While Kyle Busch was cruising to another win — the 52nd in his career — Johnson and Larson battled for a decidedly unimportant 12th-place position. But their back-and-forth represented the first time the two had ever raced together, and in some ways it was a race between NASCAR's present and its future.
After the race, Larson lingered by his car — perhaps waiting to see if Johnson would approach. But Johnson did not; after finishing interviews, he walked away without acknowledging the younger driver.

Larson, who has been touted as NASCAR's next great driver, said he wasn't quite sure how Johnson felt about their battle.

"I hope he thought it was fun, but probably not, because we were battling for, like, 12th," Larson said with a chuckle.

Johnson, making a rare Nationwide start to help him learn more about the track for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race, said Larson was a "great talent" but was partially frustrated by their on-track exchanges.

"When I'd finally get by him and catch the guys in front of me and start racing them, he'd get position on me and I couldn't advance as a result," Johnson said. "So half of it was fun and the other half was annoying."
But Johnson said he was impressed with the 20-year-old driver nonetheless.

"I want to be careful not to take any digs on him, because I've been a fan watching from afar," he said. "I saw a lot of great things out of him in the race car today and I think he's going to be a big talent going forward."
While the two were racing, Larson said he allowed himself to think, "Man, I'm racing Jimmie" on a couple occasions. Mostly, though, Larson said "he's just another I'm trying to get by."

"It's cool to get to race with those guys because you learn a lot," he said. "... He probably got frustrated racing with me at the end, but I was having a blast. We were swapping positions a lot. I learned how to kind of take the air away from him, and he'd do the same thing to me and get back by."

Larson's second career Nationwide Series start ended much better than his first, even though the 13th-place result was the same in both races. At Daytona last week, Larson's car flew into the fence and was torn apart, injuring 28 fans.
Pockrass tweeted that JJ said racing Kyle was fun and annoying and the Kyle is a great talent.
I think anyone watching the race saw the battle yesterday. It's too bad NASCAR doesn't show that kind of action each week. It's not that it's not there. It's simply not shown. But then again, how often do they go back to show you a battle for 12th? They don't.

Also, seeing that pic in the first post makes me wonder why they don't put the drivers name on these cars too. I thought that was a nice touch with the Cup cars. Why not Nationwide?

I was impressed with young Kyle's driving. Both had cars that were hard to drive, equally matched. I thought Kyle made a couple of big mistakes when he tried to work in the high line like a dirt car driver and got into the marbles, good saves though. I watched JJ move him around using the air to get by him a couple of times, and I bet Kyle made a note of that.
I think anyone watching the race saw the battle yesterday. It's too bad NASCAR doesn't show that kind of action each week. It's not that it's not there. It's simply not shown. But then again, how often do they go back to show you a battle for 12th? They don't.

That's the battle they face. They have sponsors that pay extra in the form of on-site promotion that are repaid in the form of extra TV time. They have fans that want to see THEIR driver as much as possible and then there are racing fans that want to see the best action on the track.

Even the most uneventful MIS races feature lots of passing but TV doesn't catch most of it. My biggest pet peeve about the networks is when they ignore a great battle and focus on one car because Larry Mac or one of the other guy are prattling on about something or other related to that driver. The announcers need to STFU and react to what's being shown instead of the camera guys and production reacting to what the announcers are saying.

Nice rant, eh? haha
They are not reading a teleprompter like your local news people are doing. It is a broadcasting team with a controller watching multiple monitors and feeding it to our screens, while the broadcasting team is doing their thing. So it is kind of dysfunctional.
Kyle Larson is a great talent but I think it is way too early predict his sprint cup future, to many unknowns.
The Positives
-Incredible talent, fast in every discipline.
-He has a killer instinct and thinks he is supposed to win. That also makes his crew better because they know he will not waste their efforts in giving him the best equipment.
-Good Building Blocks: He is the 2012 East Champ, and should have at least a full season of Nationwide before heading to Cup. I like this approach better than the rush to put Lagano or even Danica into cup.

The Unknowns:
-Pairing up Larson with a good cup team and the limitations: Hendrick has no room, Roush has difficulty finding sponsors. Penske with only two cup teams has room to grow, but the Hornish investment probably has a commitment to advance him to cup first. I just can’t see Hornish remaining there so long without a solid belief that he gets the next shot. A potential sponsor could approach the captain with a Larson only proposal. A fourth Gibbs car is another possibility. I would bet on Penske if I was pressed to pick the path that has the greatest possibility to materialize.

-But a possibility does exist for a second tier team to make the best offers in 2014. They would be content to ink a deal with less sponsorship dollars.
-Sprint Cup also is tougher a simple statement but a big issue. How Kyle handles the skirmishes and avoids unnecessary baggage will be another issue. If he gets stuck with a second tier team he will be running with the pack that most often breeds those problems.

I think accurately predicting his future is impossible. You can only say he has potential and wait and see.
This kid could end up being JJ's teammate when Gordon retires.

I've never seen any driver adjust their lines so dramatically and smoothly. The kid has it.

If he really is good enough, Chase and his contract with HMS may get Keselowskied when Jr. or Gordon retire.

There is no doubt SHR will warehouse Larson until Rick is ready. Then again, Tony may decide to keep Larson to himself. Imagine THOSE fireworks?
I always like to watch the lastest new hotshoe after he had been in a "big one". Didn't have to wait very long for Larson to be in one. Sometimes they slow down after that. I don't think Larson did, he didn't have the car to race for the lead and the pictures on TV showed that he was going hard all day.
way too soon to tell how well he will do at this higher level racing. he has to have not only the skill, but the car, a bit of luck and good timing. So far so good though.
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