UNLIKE SOME OF HIS FELLOW DRIVERS, LARSON WON'T GET FIGHTING MAD
Kyle Larson can't imagine getting angry enough to take a swing at another driver-because of the potential consequences.
Naturally enough, the fisticuffs between Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and their crew members made for animated conversation at Phoenix International Raceway -- site of Sunday's Camping World 500 -- where the chief combatants were summoned to a Friday morning your-attendance-is-requited meeting in the NASCAR transporter.
After Logano's Ford collided with Busch's Toyota on the final lap last Sunday at Las Vegas, Busch launched an overhand right at Logano on pit road and the melee followed.
Larson, on the other hand, can't see himself in a similar situation. Most sources list Larson as 5-foot-6, 130 pounds, but both those numbers may be generous.
"Look at how big I am," Larson said with a chuckle. "I can't do that. Joey has got probably about two feet longer reach on me, too. No, but, I'm not the fighting type. I don't think I've ever been mad enough that I have ever wanted to punch somebody, mainly probably because I'm scared that I am the one that is going to get beat up.
"No, I don't know. Maybe I'm small enough, too. ... I'm a lot smaller than most of the other drivers that maybe they will see the disadvantage while they are walking over to my car and won't punch me. But that was pretty exciting last week."
Ryan Blaney likewise said he doesn't have the temperament for fighting, but he could see himself getting angry enough to want to throw a punch.
"Yeah, anyone can get that upset," Blaney said. "The Pope can get that upset. It's human nature. Anyone can get that upset to do that. Whether you act on it or not, that's your own personal choice you make. It's just passionate racers.
"People have passion for certain things, and sometimes the passion gets the best of you."
TIRE ISSUE SENDS HAMLIN TO REAR FOR SUNDAY'S RACE
Denny Hamlin got "screwed" during the first round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying.
No, another competitor didn't impede Hamlin's progress on his run. Crew chief Mike Wheeler described what happened in a tweet on Friday night.
"Ran over a screw in Q1, came in 15 psi lower," Wheeler posted about the cut tire that resulted. "NASCAR no longer allows changes. Tried to pump up for Q2, but didn't work. Bummer. #startinglast"
During the offseason, NASCAR instituted a rule requiring drivers to start the race on their qualifying tires, and tires may be changed only in the case of a factory defect.
With the pumped-up tire, Hamlin nevertheless qualified 19th. Though he'll have to start from the back of the field in Sunday's Camping World 500 because of the tire change, he will retain the pit stall he earned with the 19th pick.
Hamlin tweeted that the rule "bit us big time. Run over something, get a flat, can't continue (although we tried) and have to start in the back for it."
--- NASCAR Wire Service / Reid Spencer ---