NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode VII: Kyle Larson


Kyle Larson, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver in the midst of an extended homecoming, is the primary guest on the seventh episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast.

Larson, a native of Elk Grove, California, has been spending much of his time on the West Coast since the 2015 season ended, celebrating the holidays in his native state and then enjoying the Phoenix Open golf tournament. He also is attending a family wedding (where his 14-month-old son, Owen, will be the ringbearer) this week in California before Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana

The 23-year-old is a fan of being a fan at other professional sporting events – he has tweeted photos from his courtside seats at Oracle Arena for Golden State Warriors games (which he scored through a friend who’s a financial advisor).

“It was really cool,” he said. “The Warriors are unbelievable right now, especially Steph Curry and how great of a player he is. To sit courtside and watch him is really cool.

“Going to any other basketball game, when a player hits a 3-pointer they get a round of applause. But when Steph or Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer, that place would go nuts.”

Larson also attended a Charlotte Hornets game recently as a guest of point guard Jeremy Lin, who came to the Chip Ganassi Racing shop last year for a tour.

“Jeremy is a really good guy, super, super normal,” Larson said. “I was blown away by how normal of a guy he was.”

As an Asian-American driver in NASCAR, Larson can relate to the impact Lin has made in diversifying the NBA’s fan base

“I definitely have noticed more Asians at the racetrack wearing my race gear,” he said. “It’s cool to play a small role of helping out the sport.”

During the podcast, Larson also discusses:

–The rigors of traveling the NASCAR schedule with a young family and how Owen is adapting to his immersion in the racing lifestyle;

–How he and girlfriend Katelyn Sweet handle parenting on the road;

–How members of his generation feel so comfortable with expressing themselves on social media and why it’s important for Larson to be so blunt about his performance on Twitter;

–Evaluating his 2016 performance and the outlook for Fontana.

To hear those discussions and more, listen to the podcast by clicking below, or download and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here.

A breakdown of the Kyle Larson interview with time cues for easy referencing:

5:30 – Not a golfer, but the Phoenix Open was fun

7:00 – Courtside seats for the Warriors …

8:30 – … but he once was a Kings fan

10:00 – The atmosphere at Oracle Arena

10:30 – Being Jeremy Lin’s guest at a Hornets game

10:50 – “Jeremy is a good guy, super normal”

11:50 – The Asian-American sports connection

13:30 – On the joys of traveling with a baby boy

15:15 – A girlfriend who also grew up in the rigors of racing

16:00 – Immersing Owen in the racing experience

17:00 – “I don’t want to spoil him, but he’ll get to do what he wants.”

18:00 – “Before he turned 1 year old, he was making race car noises”

19:15 – How kicks beneath the covers decide who awakes in the middle of the night

20:15 – The disarming nature of social media for Millennials

22:00 – “I try and take the blame as much as I can”

22:50 – On hearing drivers destroy their teams on the radio

23:45 – His team appreciates the Twitter candor

24:15 – The state of the No. 42 Chevrolet

26:00 – Outlook for Fontana

27:15 – Why he likes the bigger speedways

28:15 – “I hope Owen doesn’t eat the ring” as ring bearer in uncle’s wedding

nascar on NBC podcast logo

In the second half of the podcast, NASCAR Talk managing editor and writer Dustin Long joins to evaluate what has been learned through the first four races of the Sprint Cup season.

Among the topics:

–The dominance of Sprint Cup powerhouses over the past two seasons and if there is any hope for the underdogs (covered in this week’s “Upon Further Review” feature by Dustin);

–What the future might hold for Kevin Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing after his victory at Phoenix International Raceway;

–The abysmal start to the 2016 season for Clint Bowyer and its potential repercussions.

Again, you can subscribe to the podcast (and receive automatic downloads via your smartphone) by clicking here.



NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.