Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Larson will both race at Richmond this weekend. That gave them the opportunity to discuss racing the high line at Richmond and other tracks.
“I’ve got a one-day show, which I’m kind of excited about,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
Earnhardt will compete in Friday’s Xfinity race in one of his cars (7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN). Since Cup regulars are excluded from racing in that series during their playoffs, Larson will have to wait until Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN).
Since both will compete this weekend, it gave them a chance to compare racing lines.
“Richmond is a track that I enjoy. Sometimes it gets multiple grooves, not every time, but sometimes. I don’t know what really controls that. What do you think controls that?” Dale Earnhardt Jr. asked Kyle Larson.
“I think it depends on the drivers in the field maybe that get it to widen out some,” Larson answered. “Xfinity racing gets about halfway up … and then creeps back down. The Cup race, it gets all the way up to the wall and works its way back down too. It’s become one of my more favorite tracks to go to the last couple of times.”
Larson won last year’s Federated Auto Parts 400 and finished seventh this spring.
Earnhardt has seven combined wins at Richmond in the Cup (three wins) and Xfinity series (four) – including the most recent of his 24 career Xfinity wins in April 2016.
Larson has a reputation for running the high line and explained why on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.
Driving close to the wall allows him to use the air bouncing off it to create more side force on his car.
“Early in a race, I take my time getting up there, but once it rubbers up then I’m committed to it,” Larson said. “Like this week, we moved to the top in Vegas and you’re trying to move the rubber up to the wall so you can get to the wall and kind of use the air.”
Simply popping up to the outside groove is not successful, however. Larson says that it is the angle of entry that matters most.
“To me, it all comes down to committing on entry. … You can’t drive up to the wall. You kill a lot of speed once you get to it. The wider you can make your entry the more speed you make through the corner. And you need to get close to the wall to kind of feel the air working.”
That is one of the reasons Larson has been so successful at Homestead.
“(At) Homestead (it’s) super easy to run the wall because you’re already committed on entry … the way the shape of the corner is. You can feel it down the straightaway when you get close to the wall. I just kind of stay within that pocket.”
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