Chip Ganassi believes that Kyle Larson is the next big thing to grace the Sprint Cup Series. Starting in 2014, Larson will pilot the #42 Target Chevrolet that Juan Pablo Montoya has driven to a handful of victories and many not so memorable finishes. The big question at hand is whether or not Kyle Larson is ready to compete with the crème de la crème of the Sprint Cup Series?
This promotion for Larson could end up being a huge problem in terms of how successful this prodigy can be. For one, Larson has limited experience in NASCAR’s second tier, considering he has never won a Nationwide race. Larson did impress earlier this year by dominating in the Camping World Truck series at Rockingham, one of the more difficult tracks to master. But he has yet to close in on that marquee Nationwide series win, even though he has had some impressive runs and nearly sealed the deal at the spring Bristol race.
Another driver who has been thrust into the Sprint Cup Series is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. However with Stenhouse, he was given an opportunity to blossom in the Nationwide Series, winning last year’s championship. Stenhouse Jr has had a pretty rough transition into Sprint Cup, having yet to crack the top 10 in 24 races. So for conversations sake, perhaps having extra time in the Nationwide series is absolutely meaningless.
The risk is worth the reward for both Ganassi and Larson. Larson gets a fully sponsored ride for 2014 and beyond as he is signed to a massive contract (signed through 2017 according to Jayski.com). The possibility of new blood in the 42 car is exciting for Chip Ganassi, but I think many people have turned a blind eye to the performance of Earnhardt Ganassi as a whole. One can easily argue that Juan Pablo Montoya is a much more talented race car driver than given credit for. I honestly believe that Earnhardt Ganassi has been mediocre at best and has put out less than acceptable race cars for their drivers to compete in. This could be the biggest hitch in Kyle Larson’s ascension to the top of the Sprint Cup series.