Here’s how iRacing is helping NASCAR turn the L.A. Coliseum into a race track
NASCAR is opening the 2022 season with an exhibition Clash race held on a temporary paved track built in the L.A. Coliseum. iRacing VP Steve Meyers enters The Fox Garage to talk about how the racing simulator is being used to help develop it.
Never let anyone tell you NASCAR isn’t a team effort.
A crew member of the HendrickCars.com Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson reacts to a pit stop during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7, 2021, in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson won the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship race on Sunday at Phoenix on the back of a clutch pit stop by his Hendrick Motorsports crew.
Larson was running in fourth position when a yellow flag flew late in the race and brought most of the field, including the four drivers competing for the title, into the pits for tire changes and a splash of fuel.
Having qualified for the pole position with a blistering single lap run on Saturday, Larson chose the first pit stall for the race, which meant he was the last one in but had a clear shot pulling back onto the track.
His crew pulled off a nearly perfect stop in just 11.8 seconds, leading many to compare it to the scene from the animated film “Cars” when Lightning McQueen’s one-man crew Guido completed an eerily similar feat to keep him on the lead lap of the championship race.
As soon as he came off the jack, Larson stood on the gas and just beat Denny Hamlin to first position, which he held onto for the final 24-lap run to the checkered flag.
“It was amazing,” Hendrick Motorsports pit crew coach Chris Burkey told Racer.com. “Those are the moments that the guys live for. If you’re a competitor, that’s what you live (for) – making that last shot. We practice that all the time, and to see it come to fruition is awesome to watch. It really was.”
It was especially satisfying as the previous stop didn’t go quite as well and was partially responsible for Larson falling to fourth place.
According to NASCAR.com, Hendrick’s pit crews have been the class of the field this year. Through June, Larson’s had the quickest average at 13.64 seconds and Chase Elliott’s won the pit crew challenge at the All-Star Race.
“There were so many points of this race where I did not think that we were going to win and without my pit crew on that last stop we would not be standing right here,” Larson said after the victory.
“They are the true winners of this race, they’re true champions, I’m just blessed to be part of this group.”
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