Kyle Larson

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Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson 42.png
Larson at the 2015 STP 500
Born Kyle Miyata Larson
(1992-07-31) July 31, 1992 (age 24)
Elk Grove, California
Achievements 2011 Belleville Midget Nationals Champion
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
107 races run over 4 years
Car no., team No. 42 (Chip Ganassi Racing)
2015 position 19th
Best finish 17th (2014)
First race 2013 Bank of America 500 (Charlotte)
Last race 2016 Hellmann's 500 (Talladega)
First win 2016 Pure Michigan 400 (Michigan)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 40 1
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
89 races run over 4 years
Car no., team No. 42 (Chip Ganassi Racing)
2015 position 87th
Best finish 8th (2013)
First race 2013 DRIVE4COPD 300 (Daytona)
Last race 2016 Kansas Lottery 300 (Kansas)
First win 2014 300 (Fontana)
Last win 2016 Pocono Green 250 (Pocono)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 59 1
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
12 races run over 5 years
Truck no., team No. 24 (GMS Racing)
2015 position 93rd
Best finish 35th (2012)
First race 2012 UNOH 225 (Kentucky)
Last race 2016 Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby (Eldora)
First win 2013 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (Rockingham)
Last win 2016 Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby (Eldora)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 9 2
Statistics current as of October 23, 2016.

Kyle Miyata Larson (born July 31, 1992) is an Japanese-American 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, part-time in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for CGR, and part-time in the Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing. 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[edit]

Early career and open wheel career[edit]

Larson racing in a midget car in 2012

A resident of Elk Grove, California,[1] Larson attended his first race with his parents a week after his birth;[2] he began racing at the age of seven in outlaw karts in Northern California.[2] 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;[3] he also raced in World of Outlaws sprint cars.[2] 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.[4] He holds the sprint car track record at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California, set in 2010.[5] In 2012, he won six USAC National Midget races including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.[6]

Stock cars[edit]

Touring series[edit]

Larson's 2012 K&N Pro car

Although he expressed an interest in IndyCar racing,[3] Larson was signed for the 2012 racing season by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (EGR) as part of the team's driver development program.[2] 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.[7] He won again at the speedway a week later during the World Series of Asphalt.[8]

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,[9] 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.[10] He also made his debut in the ARCA Racing Series at Michigan International Speedway, driving for Eddie Sharp Racing;[11] he finished 13th in the event.[12] Larson returned to ARCA in 2014, winning at Pocono[13] from the pole.[14]

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.[15]

Camping World Truck 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 April 2013, Larson won his first Truck race at Rockingham Speedway in a close finish with Joey Logano;[18] in celebration, Larson performed donuts without his steering wheel on, a practice he had acquired when racing go karts;[19] 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.[20] He later finished second at Eldora Speedway in the inaugural Mudsummer Classic.[21]

Xfinity Series[edit]

For 2013, Larson moved full-time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the No. 32 for Turner Scott Motorsports.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

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."[25] Larson once again celebrated by doing burnouts in the infield without a steering wheel.[26] On May 24, Larson won his second NNS race at Charlotte edging Brad Keselowski for the History 300 win. After going winless throughout the rest of 2014 and most of 2015, Larson won the season-ending Xfinity Series race in Homestead-Miami in November 2015, bringing home the first win for HScott Motorsports, holding off Austin Dillon. Larson had controlled the early portions of the race and took advantage of pit strategies to catch up to race leader Dillon with 4 laps to go and pass him for the win.[27]

In 2016, Larson drove the #42 part-time for Ganassi. During the final laps of the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte, Larson passed Joey Logano with 15 laps to go and appeared to have had the race in the bag, only for an untimely yellow to erase his 5-second lead. Larson lost the race to Denny Hamlin. In a bit of redemption, the next week at Pocono Raceway, Larson won a rain-shortened Pocono Green 250.

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 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, 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 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.

Larson at the Irwin Tools Night Race

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.[42]

Larson started out his 2016 season with a 7th place outing at Daytona, marking his first top 10 at Daytona and his first non-DNF at Daytona. Larson ran very well at Martinsville, and finished 3rd. He also had a top 5 car at Kansas before being caught up in a crash with Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. He finished 35th. Larson came as close as he had been at that time to winning his first Cup race the following week at the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover. Larson led the race with less than 50 laps to go and recovered from being one lap down to running down leader Matt Kenseth. Larson had the fastest car during the final laps, but couldn't take advantage of mistakes made by Kenseth, finishing second to Kenseth. Afterwards Larson stated, "Matt Kenseth in my eyes is the cleanest racer out there. I didn't want to drive him dirty because he always races me clean. Looking back, I'd do stuff different but my time is coming."[43] At the Sprint Showdown, Larson battled with Chase Elliott for the win in the final segment, the two making contact as they approached the finish, Larson beating Elliott to the line to lock himself into the All-Star Race.[44] In the All-Star Race, Larson took the lead on the final restart, but was caught by Joey Logano and hit the wall with two laps to go; Logano would win the race while Larson finished 16th.[45]

At the 2016 Pure Michigan 400, Larson led the closing stages of the race and slipped in the standings after a pit stop with less than 30 laps to go. Larson charged from 4th place on a restart to second. It looked like Larson was set to finish second behind rookie Chase Elliott. After a caution with 10 laps left erased Elliott's 4-second lead, Larson got by Elliott on the restart and won his first Sprint Cup series victory, again celebrating with the steering wheel off.

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.[46] 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."[47] In his Rolex 24 debut, Larson's car stalled, and received a speeding penalty, but finished his stint with a fifth-place finish.[48]

Larson returned to the 02 Ford Daytona Prototype for the 2015 event, along with Chip Ganassi Racing teammates from IndyCar Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan and NASCAR Jamie McMurray, and the team ultimately won the race.[49][50]

In 2016, Larson once again returned for the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Ford EcoBoost Daytona Prototype, only set to run for one race in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team consisted of the same drivers from the winning 2015 car, but ran into issues, with brake failures plaguing the team throughout the race.[51]

Personal life[edit]

Larson's mother is Japanese-American, and her parents had spent time in a Japanese internment camp.[52] Larson is currently dating Katelyn Sweet, the sister of NASCAR driver Brad Sweet.[53] Larson announced on June 13 that he and Sweet were expecting a child.[54] On July 16, 2014, Larson announced that the baby is a boy.[55] On December 22, 2014, Larson's son, Owen Miyata Larson, was born.[56]

Motorsports career results[edit]


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

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Daytona 500[edit]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
2014 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 16 38
2015 29 34
2016 14 7

Xfinity Series[edit]

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

* Season still in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

ARCA Racing Series[edit]

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

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship[edit]


24 Hours of Daytona[edit]


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  2. ^ a b c d "Ganassi team signs open wheel standout Larson". Fox Sports. February 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
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  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Larson Adds Another Feather To His Cap". National Speed Sport News. November 23, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
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  8. ^ "Larson Wins Again At New Smyrna In World Series Action". Raceweek Illustrated. February 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  9. ^ Bowman, Tommy (June 3, 2012). "LaJoie wins first K&N Series race". Winston-Salem Journal. Winston-Salem, NC. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  10. ^ 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. 
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  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Gluck, Jeff (March 22, 2014). "The story behind Kyle Larson's wild no-wheel victory celebrations". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  21. ^ Bruce, Kenny (July 25, 2013). "Miscue forces Larson to settle for second". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  22. ^ 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. 
  23. ^ Blount, Terry (February 24, 2013). "Fans injured during scary wreck". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  24. ^ "D4D grad Larson wins Sunoco Rookie of the Year". NASCAR. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  25. ^ Associated Press (March 22, 2014). "Kyle Larson makes history, wins Nationwide race at Fontana". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Associated Press (November 21, 2015). "Kyle Larson outduels Austin Dillon for XFINITY win at HMS". Retrieved February 26, 2016. 
  28. ^ Spencer, Lee (August 27, 2013). "Report: Earnhardt Ganassi taps Larson". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
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  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. 
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  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. 
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  40. ^ Livingstone, Seth (August 1, 2014). "LARSON LAUNCHES TO COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
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  42. ^ "LARSON, KYLE BUSCH COLLIDE AS PIT ROAD OPENS". NASCAR. October 11, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  43. ^ Pockrass, Bob (May 16, 2016). "Matt Kenseth finally gets rewarded with win after string of bad luck". ESPN. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  44. ^ Associated Press (May 21, 2016). "Kyle Larson edges Chase Elliott to earn spot in All-Star race". ESPN. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  45. ^ Bruce, Kenny (May 22, 2016). "HARD LUCK, NEAR-WIN HEARTBREAK FOR KYLE LARSON". NASCAR. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  46. ^ Kelly, Goodwin (January 4, 2014). "Ganassi announces powerhouse Rolex 24 At Daytona driver lineup". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  47. ^ Cain, Holly (January 3, 2014). "Larson ready to win a watch at Rolex 24 at Daytona". Retrieved 2014-01-04. 
  48. ^ Cain, Holly (January 25, 2014). "Kyle Larson stays even in Rolex 24 debut". Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  49. ^ Fryer, Jenna (January 25, 2015). "Chip Ganassi Racing's 'star car' wins Rolex 24 at Daytona". Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  50. ^ Smith, Steven. "Larson, McMurray win Rolex 24 at Daytona". NASCAR. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  51. ^ Spencer, Reid. "Brake failure, Kyle Larson crash take out defending Rolex 24 at Daytona champions Read more:". Autoweek. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved 29 August 2016.  External link in |title= (help)
  52. ^ Peltz, Jim (March 22, 2014). "Kyle Larson gets first Nationwide Series win at Fontana". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  53. ^ Lerner, Preston (September 12, 2013). "The Kid: Kyle Larson". Automobile. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  54. ^ Wackerlin, Jeff (June 13, 2014). "Larson to Become a Father". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  55. ^ Richter, Josh (July 16, 2014). "Tutu or tie? Kyle Larson and his girlfriend are having a ...". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  56. ^ Cain, Holly. "Kyle Larson, girlfriend welcome baby boy". NASCAR Media Group, LLC. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Max Gresham
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion
Succeeded by
Dylan Kwasniewski
Preceded by
Alex Bowman
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Jesse Little
Preceded by
Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Chase Elliott
Preceded by
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Brett Moffitt