HAMPTON, Ga. – Kyle Larson’s meteoric rise through NASCAR’s developmental system is complete.
The 21-year-old Larson, who claimed the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in his first full season in stock cars, will drive the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2014.
“It’s definitely been quite a whirlwind,” said Larson, who will replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42. “I was walking over here saying a year ago today I was making my second Truck start. It’s been a really quick road. But I feel like I’ve done okay with it and learned quite a bit.”
Larson, who began his professional racing career driving sprint cars on the West Coast, has won in nearly every type of car he has ever raced. He has on his resume victories in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Rockingham in April), the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, Traxxas USAC Silver Crown Series, AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series, Honda USAC National Midget Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, just to name a few.
This season Larson moved to the NASCAR Nationwide Series full time, driving the No. 32 Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports through a partnership with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. He is currently eighth in the series standings with two second-place finishes.
Team co-owner Chip Ganassi said the working plan is for Larson to compete full-time in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series next year. That plan could change as the 2014 season advances.
“We’re planning on Nationwide next year, as well, being in both series,” Ganassi said. “I think he’s in a great team with Turner Scott Motorsports. Those guys have done a great job. I think it’s kind of a plus that he’s with a bona fide Nationwide team. It’s not a Cup team there doing a Nationwide car. It’s a bona fide Nationwide team.”
With that in mind, Larson said he doesn’t expect to run nearly as many sprint car races next season.
“Racing both Nationwide and Cup next year, that takes up about your whole weekend,” Larson said. “I know I won’t be able to race as much sprint car stuff. I’m cool with it. Getting more experience in stock cars is a little bit better than racing sprint cars. That just shows where my focus is at being in the NASCAR stuff. “If I could still race 10 sprint car races next year, I’d be totally fine with that.
“I’ve run nearly 55 to 60 (sprint car races) this year. That’s a bit much. I’m ready to slow down a little bit. If I could still be part of sprint car racing, whether it be in ownership or having a small part in it, I would still enjoy it quite a bit and feel like I’m over there racing,” Larson added.