KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Jamie McMurray may not be ready to start calling Kyle Larson “Little Buddy,” a la Skipper and Gilligan, but he’s looking forward to getting know his new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammate at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Larson, 21, is replacing Juan Pablo Montoya in EGR’s No. 42 Chevrolet next season. The NASCAR Driver for Diversity graduate will make his Cup debut Oct. 12 at Charlotte in the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, but the car will be prepared by EGR.
With Montoya living in Miami, Fla., and his native Colombia, he and McMurray have had little chance to communicate away from the race track. That won’t be the case with Larson, who also shares McMurray’s passion for go-kart racing.
“Having Kyle in the Charlotte area is going to be beneficial,” said McMurray, 37. “At the same time, Juan and I really don’t have a relationship away from the race track. I don’t know that’s that important, but the fact that Kyle and I are both into karting and can go out and do that and just hang out and goof off…
“We’re definitely at different stages in our life, where I’m married with kids, and he has neither. That’s a big difference in our life, but when you have a common hobby and something you can go do together and hang out and maybe become a little better friends along with teammates, I think that’s going to be good.”
McMurray, if asked, also will do whatever he can to help his new teammate adjust to Cup cars and Cup tracks.
“Kyle is a really easy guy to get along with,” McMurray said. “He’s a good person, he’s been racing for a long time, and racing is all he wants to do. I think he’ll be a really good listener. I’m not one to push my opinion over, but if he’s to ask my opinion, then I’ll be very honest with him, and like I said when they announced that Kyle was going to be my teammate, I think there will be a little bit that I can help him with on the track.
“Maybe going to tracks he’s never been to--Martinsville, Pocono and some of those places and explain how restarts work or just little nuances that happen at each track. I think my role with Kyle is going to be much larger off the track with sponsor commitments, coming into more money, a lot of things that I don’t know that we pay attention to when someone gets a Cup ride versus being in the Trucks or the Nationwide.”
By Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service