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Kyle Larson

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Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson
Born Kyle Miyata Larson
(1992-07-31) July 31, 1992
Elk Grove, California, U.S.
Achievements 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion
2012 Turkey Night Grand Prix winner
2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Overall Winner
Awards 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year
2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
72 races run over 3 years
Car no., team No. 42 (Chip Ganassi Racing)
2014 position 17th
Best finish 17th (2014)
First race 2013 Bank of America 500 (Charlotte)
Last race 2015 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 (Martinsville)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 26 1
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
71 races run over 3 years
Car no., team No. 42 (HScott Motorsports)
2014 position 80th
Best finish 8th (2013)
First race 2013 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2015 Hisense 200 (Dover)
First win 2014 Treatmyclot.com 300 (Fontana)
Last win 2014 History 300 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 46 1
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
10 races run over 4 years
Truck no., team No. 00 (JR Motorsports)
2014 position 92nd
Best finish 35th (2012)
First race 2012 UNOH 225 (Kentucky)
Last race 2015 American Ethanol E15 225 (Joliet)
First win 2013 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (Rockingham)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 7 2
Statistics current as of November 1, 2015.

Kyle Miyata Larson (born July 31, 1992 in Elk Grove, California) is a Japanese American[1] professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet SS for Chip Ganassi Racing. He also competes part-time in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for HScott Motorsports. He was named the 2012 K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year and champion, he is also the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as an overall winner of the 2015 24 Hours of Daytona. He was the 2014 Cup Series Rookie of the Year.

Racing career

Early career and open wheel career

Larson racing in a midget car in 2012

A resident of Elk Grove, California,[2] Larson attended his first race with his parents a week after his birth;[3] he began racing at the age of seven in outlaw karts in Northern California.[3] As a teenager he raced open-wheel cars, including United States Auto Club (USAC) midget, Silver Crown and sprint cars, competing for Keith Kunz Motorsports and Hoffman Racing with Toyota backing;[4] he also raced in World of Outlaws sprint cars.[3] His first sprint car race win was at Placerville Speedway, where he was one of the youngest drivers to ever compete.

He won the 2011 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway, winning in all three types of USAC cars in a single night, only the second driver in history to accomplish the feat.[5] He holds the sprint car track record at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California, set in 2010.[6] In 2012, he won six USAC National Midget races including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.[7]

Stock cars

Touring series

Larson's 2012 K&N Pro car

Although he expressed an interest in IndyCar racing,[4] Larson was signed for the 2012 racing season by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (EGR) as part of the team's driver development program.[3] In February 2012, at the Pete Orr Memorial Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna Speedway, Larson made his first start in a full-bodied stock car, and won the event, leading only the final lap of the race.[8] He won again at the speedway a week later during the World Series of Asphalt.[9]

As part of EGR's development program, Larson competed for Revolution Racing in the NASCAR-sanctioned K&N Pro Series East, a regional touring and feeder series, for the 2012 season; he scored a top ten finish in his first race in the series, won the pole for the fifth race of the year,[10] and in the sixth race of the fourteen-race season went to [11] He also made his debut in the ARCA Racing Series at Michigan International Speedway, driving for Eddie Sharp Racing;[12] he finished 13th in the event.[13] Larson returned to ARCA in 2014, winning at Pocono[14] from the pole.[15]

Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series

Larson's car for his 2013 Nationwide Rookie of the Year season

In late June 2012, Larson made his debut in NASCAR's national touring series, driving the No. 4 for Turner Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series event at Kentucky Speedway;[16] he finished in the top ten in his first race in the series.[17]

In his first season in a NASCAR touring series, Larson won the 2012 K&N Pro Series East championship, with two wins and twelve top tens in 14 races, overcoming the five wins of Corey LaJoie (son of two-time Busch Series champion Randy). Larson was also named the series Rookie of the Year.[18]

For 2013, Larson moved full-time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the No. 32 for Turner Scott Motorsports.[19] On the last lap of the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, he was involved in a violent crash, in which his car went airborne and pierced the catchfence, completely ripping the front end of his car off. He was unharmed, but the debris hurt a number of spectators in the stands.[20]

In April 2013, Larson won his first Truck race at Rockingham Speedway in a close finish with Joey Logano;[21] in celebration, Larson performed donuts without his steering wheel on, a practice he had acquired when racing go karts;[22] the celebration prompted NASCAR to request him to keep it attached, regarding safety concerns, as Larson would not have much control of the car without the wheel.[23] He later finished second at Eldora Speedway in the inaugural Mudsummer Classic.[24] In the Nationwide Series, at the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Larson was sent off the track and into the tire barriers on lap one. However, after falling three laps down due to repairs, Larson recovered to finish on the lead lap in fourteenth.

At Homestead, Larson almost won his first NNS race in the Ford EcoBoost 300. Leading the race on old tires with 4 laps to go, Larson was passed with two laps to go by Brad Keselowski.

Larson won the Rookie of the Year award in the Nationwide Series for 2013, becoming the first Asian-American and first Drive for Diversity participant to win a rookie of the year award in one of NASCAR's national touring series.[25]

On March 22, 2014, Larson won the Treatmyclot.com 300, holding off Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for the win. In victory lane, Larson stated, "Those last 11, 12 laps were the longest laps of my life. I've been so close to winning so many times, but the fashion we did it in was extra special."[26] Larson once again celebrated by doing burnouts in the infield without a steering wheel.[27]

On May 24, Larson won his second NNS race at Charlotte edging Brad Keselowski for the History 300 win.

Sprint Cup Series

On August 27, 2013, The Charlotte Observer reported that Larson would drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya, starting in 2014;[28] the deal was officially announced on August 30, 2013.[29] On October 1 it was announced that Larson would run in two 2013 Sprint Cup races for Phoenix Racing, at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, to prepare for his rookie season.[30] Larson started 21st, and finished 37th in his Cup debut at the Bank of America 500 after an engine failure on lap 247.[31]

He finished 42nd at Martinsville after another engine failure. Larson ran the 2013 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3,[32] finishing 23rd. Larson will run for Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, with Chris Heroy as crew chief.[33] In his CGR debut at the Daytona 500, Larson collided with the wall twice, and despite fixing damage, he spun out on lap 22.[34] On March 23, at the Auto Club 400, Larson started ninth on the green-white-checker, gained five spots on the first lap of the GWC, and caught up to leader Kyle Busch on the final lap, finishing second.[35] In practice for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, Larson recorded a speed of 126.880 miles per hour (204.194 km/h), and after qualifying was rained out Larson started first based on having been fastest in practice.[36] However, when entering the first turn on lap one, Larson was spun after colliding with Clint Bowyer.[37]

Larson finished 9th at Talladega after starting 29th. Larson had a very impressive run at Pocono in the Pocono 400. After starting 14th in the race, Larson ran in the top ten the entire race. He led his first laps led in Sprint Cup competition, leading 7 laps (laps 102-109). Larson ultimately finished 5th.

At Michigan, Larson spun out on lap 7. Despite this he spent 33 laps recovering from 43rd to 7th. He led 2 laps. While running in 7th late in the race, Larson blocked one of his strong supporters Tony Stewart trying to go for the lead, the block damaging Stewart's grille. In response Stewart tried to retaliate under a yellow-flag period. Despite the feud Larson finished 8th. When told that Stewart was mad at him for the block, Larson shrugged it off replying "Tony being Tony I guess. I was pretty tight on whoever was inside of me on the restart, and I was looking in my mirror and saw him juke to the right so I juked to the right and he hit me, and I don't know, he was just trying to teach me a lesson I'm guessing."[38] Before the Sonoma race Stewart warned Larson, angrily saying "He'll learn not to block me anytime soon."[39]

Larson crashed early in the Coke Zero 400 but he rebounded at Loudon with a 3rd place finish. Larson finished 7th in the Brickyard 400 and set the track record in the Gobowling.com 400 at Pocono with a lap speed of 183.438 mph (295.215 km/h) for his first official pole in the Cup Series.[40]

Larson missed his chance to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup after poor finishes in the final two regular season races. In the first Chase race at Chicagoland, Larson came close to pulling off his first Cup Series victory. After leading over 30 laps, with 18 laps to go he engaged in a battle with Kevin Harvick, allowing Brad Keselowski to catch up and pass Larson for the lead and ultimately the win. After two more cautions, Larson finished 3rd after battling Jeff Gordon who admitted himself as a Larson fan. Larson and Gordon exchanged hugs on pit road over their race and Gordon whispered some advice in Larson's ear over restarts. In a post-race media conference Gordon called Larson "The real deal."

The next week at Loudon, Larson led 3 laps and finished second to Joey Logano. At Kansas he finished second again to Logano. As the Chase got more competitive, Larson was unable to contend for wins but nonetheless won the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award over Austin Dillon with his statistics being higher than other rookie seasons in history, such as those of Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon.

In 2015, Larson began his season with a crash in the Daytona 500. Larson had his first top ten of the year at Las Vegas finishing 8th after starting 5th. Larson missed the spring Martinsville because of being hospitalized after fainting during an autograph session, being replaced by Regan Smith.[41] He was released from the hospital on March 31–two days later with a diagnosis of dehydration as being the cause of the fainting. He won his second career pole for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after qualifying was cancelled due to rain.

Larson was in contention for the win at Charlotte in the Bank of America 500. While running second with less than 110 laps to go, Larson was about to stay out of pit road for a lap but changed his mind at the last second, entering pit road. At the same time, Kyle Busch was about to pit but changed his mind at the last second also and tried to stay out. Both cars collided as a result, spinning Larson and eliminating them from contention for the win.

Other racing

On January 4, 2014, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that Larson would enter the 24 Hours of Daytona, driving the No. 02 car alongside Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Marino Franchitti.[42] During the press conference, Larson stated, "You grow up watching the NASCAR guys then you're like, ‘wow’ when you meet them. And then watching the guys in different series there's a 'wow' factor to meeting them and working with them."[43] In his Rolex 24 debut, Larson's car stalled, and received a speeding penalty, but finished his stint with a fifth-place finish.[44] Larson returned to the 02 for the 2015 event, though Franchitti was replaced by Larson's Cup teammate Jamie McMurray, and the team ultimately won the race.[45]

Personal life

Larson's mother is Japanese-American, and her parents had spent time in a Japanese internment camp.[46] Larson is currently dating Katelyn Sweet, the sister of NASCAR driver Brad Sweet.[47] Larson announced on June 13 that he and Sweet were expecting a child.[48] On July 16, 2014, Larson announced that the baby is a boy.[49] On December 22, 2014, Larson's son, Owen Miyata Larson, was born.[50]

Motorsports career results

NASCAR

() (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series

Daytona 500
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
2014 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 16 38
2015 29 34

Xfinity Series

Camping World Truck Series

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

ARCA Racing Series

() (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

United SportsCar Championship

()

24 Hours of Daytona

References

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External links

  • Official website
  • Kyle Larson driver statistics at Racing-Reference
Preceded by
Max Gresham
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion
2012
Succeeded by
Dylan Kwasniewski
Achievements
Preceded by
Alex Bowman
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year
2012
Succeeded by
Jessie Little
Preceded by
Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
2013
Succeeded by
Chase Elliott
Preceded by
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year
2014
Succeeded by
Incumbent
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