Kyle Larson

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This article is about the NASCAR driver. For the American football player, see Kyle Larson (American football).
Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson Road America 2013.jpg
Larson at Road America in 2013
Born (1992-07-31) July 31, 1992 (age 22)
Elk Grove, California, U.S.
Achievements 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion
2012 Turkey Night Grand Prix 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
40 races run over 2 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 2014 Ford EcoBoost 400 (Homestead)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 17 1
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
60 races run over 2 years
Car no., team No. 42 (Turner Scott Motorsports)
2013 position 8th
Best finish 8th (2013)
First race 2013 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2014 Ford EcoBoost 300 (Homestead)
First win 2014 300 (Fontana)
Last win 2014 History 300 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 38 1
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
9 races run over 3 years
Truck no., team No. 32 (Turner Scott Motorsports)
2013 position 85th
Best finish 35th (2012)
First race 2012 UNOH 225 (Kentucky)
Last race 2014 Ford EcoBoost 200 (Homestead)
First win 2013 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (Rockingham)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 6 2
Statistics current as of November 16, 2014.

Kyle Miyata Larson (born July 31, 1992 in Sacramento, California) is a Japanese American[1] stock car racing driver. The 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year and champion, he was the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Larson, the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, currently drives the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Racing career[edit]

Early career and open wheel career[edit]

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 go karts.[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]

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 that.[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[edit]

Touring series[edit]

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 victory lane at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Georgia, leading the final five laps of the race to score his first NASCAR win.[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]

Truck and Nationwide Series[edit]

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 Nationwide 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] At Daytona International Speedway in the DRIVE4COPD 300 he had a violent crash, piercing the catchfence with the front end of his car after getting airborne coming to the checkered flag. Larson 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 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 even though officials have advised him to either be very careful about it or not do it at all.[27]

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

At the 2014 Homestead weekend Kyle Larson dominated the truck race but a costly pit road call by his crew chief resulted in him losing his dominance. He finished in the top five. At the Nationwide race, Larson appeared to have had it won, but another controversial pit stop decision resulted in him being unable to challenge the leaders for the lead. He finished third.

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

On August 27, 2013, The Charlotte Observer reported that Larson would drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2014 NASCAR 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 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 very 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" and Larson said "It's touching when you hear a champion and my own childhood hero say that about you. It's a huge deal."(48)(49) Larson followed Jeff Gordon as a child.(54)

The next week at Loudon, Larson demonstrated his short-track talents by leading a few laps. He looked like he would pull it off, though he couldn't gain ground on race-leader Joey Logano on the final restart. He only was able to close in by 3 car lengths on Joey but only could match Joey's times. Larson finished second again, behind Logano by 3.5 seconds.(50)(51) At Dover the next week Larson led a few laps and finished 6th. The next week at Kansas Larson finished second again to Joey Logano who pulled away from Larson on the final restart after Larson engaged in a battle with Kyle Busch for second.(53)

Larson finished in the top ten a few more times during the Chase. As the Chase got more competitive mid-way through, Kyle Larson was unable to challenge the race leaders at the front of running orders, but nonetheless won the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award by over 90 points over Austin Dillon.(52) Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart throughout the post-season banquet in Las Vegas, publicly called Larson "the future" and praised the rookie for his efforts throughout the year. Larson instantly renewed his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing and announced that he would continue driving the #42 with Chris Heroy maintaining the role as crew chief.

Other racing[edit]

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.[41] 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."[42] In his Rolex 24 debut, Larson's car stalled, and received a speeding penalty, but finished his stint with a fifth-place finish.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Larson's mother is Japanese-American, and her parents had spent time in a Japanese internment camp.[44] Larson is currently engaged to Katelyn Sweet, the sister of NASCAR driver Brad Sweet.[45] Larson announced on June 13 that he and Sweet were expecting a child.[46] On July 16, 2014, Larson announced that the baby is a boy.[47] Larson is a Christian.[citation needed]

Motorsports career results[edit]


(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

United SportsCar Championship[edit]


24 Hours of Daytona[edit]


  1. ^ Pockrass, Bob (February 18, 2012). "Earnhardt Ganassi Racing signs Japanese American development driver". Sporting News. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Biography". Kyle Larson official website. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Ganassi team signs open wheel standout Larson". Fox Sports. February 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  4. ^ a b James, Brant (October 6, 2011). "Phenom Kyle Larson could benefit from a delayed rise to stardom". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  5. ^ Kerchner, Mike (September 25, 2011). "Short-Track Roundup: Kyle Larson completes USAC sweep". Autoweek. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  6. ^ Karis, Tony (July 18, 2010). "Ocean Speedway: Kyle Larson dominates Taco Bravo series, sets track record". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz, CA. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Larson Adds Another Feather To His Cap". National Speed Sport News. November 23, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  8. ^ "NASCAR Notebook". Fox Sports. February 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  9. ^ "Larson Wins Again At New Smyrna In World Series Action". Raceweek Illustrated. February 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  10. ^ Bowman, Tommy (June 3, 2012). "LaJoie wins first K&N Series race". Winston-Salem Journal. Winston-Salem, NC. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  11. ^ Miller, Terry A. (June 11, 2012). "Rookie Makes Late-Race Pass For Win In NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race At Gresham". WMGT TV. Macon, GA. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  12. ^ Wackerlin, Jeff (June 12, 2012). "Larson Takes Winning Ways to Michigan". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  13. ^ "ARCA RainEater Wiper Blades 200". The Washington Examiner. Washington, D.C. June 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  14. ^ "Larson takes checkered flag at Pocono Raceway". ARCA Racing Series. June 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  15. ^ "Field chasing NASCAR's Larson in Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200". ARCA Racing Series. June 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  16. ^ Stiles, R. Mark (June 26, 2012). "Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya 2012 NSCS Quaker State 400 Race Previews". Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  17. ^ Buchanan, Mary Jo (July 2, 2012). "Kyle Larson ‘Felt Like a Super Star’ With Top Ten Truck Finish". Speedway Media. Fox Sports. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  18. ^ Utter, Jim (November 3, 2012). "Reddick gets win, Larson takes K&N title at The Rock". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  19. ^ Pearce, Al (February 6, 2013). "Tony Stewart raves about Kyle Larson, rising star to run full Nationwide schedule". Autoweek. Detroit, MI: Crain Communications. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  20. ^ Blount, Terry (February 24, 2013). "Fans injured during scary wreck". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  21. ^ "Kyle Larson holds off Joey Logano". ESPN. April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  22. ^ Bezjak, Lou (April 6, 2014). "SOUTHERN 500: Larson’s performance backs up decision to get into Cup car". The Morning News. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  23. ^ Gluck, Jeff (March 22, 2014). "The story behind Kyle Larson's wild no-wheel victory celebrations". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  24. ^ Bruce, Kenny (July 25, 2013). "Miscue forces Larson to settle for second". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  25. ^ "D4D grad Larson wins Sunoco Rookie of the Year". NASCAR. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  26. ^ Associated Press (March 22, 2014). "Kyle Larson makes history, wins Nationwide race at Fontana". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  27. ^ Nick Broomberg (March 22, 2014). "Kyle Larson did a burnout without a steering wheel after winning his first Nationwide race". Yahoo. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  28. ^ Spencer, Lee (August 27, 2013). "Report: Earnhardt Ganassi taps Larson". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  29. ^ Ryan, Nate (August 30, 2013). "Chip Ganassi on Kyle Larson: 'The kid's ready'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  30. ^ Spencer, Lee (October 1, 2013). "Larson to make Cup debut at CMS". Fox Sports. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  31. ^ Scott, David (October 13, 2013). "Kyle Larson finishes 37th in Cup debut, but learned plenty". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  32. ^ Estrada, Chris (October 29, 2013). "Kyle Larson to get another Cup start at Texas". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  33. ^ Bob Pockrass (August 30, 2013). "Chip Ganassi says new driver Kyle Larson ready for Sprint Cup - NASCAR". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  34. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry (February 23, 2014). "Rookie Kyle Larson struggles early in Daytona 500". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  35. ^ Fryer, Jenna (March 25, 2014). "Kyle Larson's strong showing at Fontana proves he belongs at Sprint Cup level". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  36. ^ Gluck, Jeff (April 25, 2014). "Kyle Larson wins pole for Richmond race; qualifying rained out". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  37. ^ Albert, Zack (April 26, 2014). "LARSON SPINS ON OPENING LAP; BOWYER BURNS OUT". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  38. ^ Pockrass, Bob (June 16, 2014). "Kyle Larson not worried about Tony Stewart reaction". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  39. ^ Bianchi, Jordan (June 20, 2014). "NASCAR Sonoma 2014: Tony Stewart warns Kyle Larson about blocking". SB Nation. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  40. ^ Livingstone, Seth (August 1, 2014). "LARSON LAUNCHES TO COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  41. ^ Kelly, Goodwin (January 4, 2014). "Ganassi announces powerhouse Rolex 24 At Daytona driver lineup". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  42. ^ Cain, Holly (January 3, 2014). "Larson ready to win a watch at Rolex 24 at Daytona". Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  43. ^ Cain, Holly (January 25, 2014). "Kyle Larson stays even in Rolex 24 debut". Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  44. ^ Peltz, Jim (March 22, 2014). "Kyle Larson gets first Nationwide Series win at Fontana". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  45. ^ Lerner, Preston (September 12, 2013). "The Kid: Kyle Larson". Automobile. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  46. ^ Wackerlin, Jeff (June 13, 2014). "Larson to Become a Father". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  47. ^ Richter, Josh (July 16, 2014). "Tutu or tie? Kyle Larson and his girlfriend are having a ...". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 








External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Max Gresham
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion
Succeeded by
Dylan Kwasniewski
Preceded by
Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by