Kyle Larson: "NASCAR has always been my No. 1 priority"

Kyle Larson would like to clear something up – NASCAR is where his focus is and where he has always hoped to compete.

Listen to this article

Larson’s extensive sprint car background, including his continued participation in numerous races during the Cup Series season, have often raised questions over whether NASCAR was where he really wanted to be racing fulltime.

Following his victory Sunday in the inaugural Cup Series race at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway – his fourth consecutive win (including the All-Star Race) – Larson tried to put those doubts to rest.

Larson, 28, was asked about being allowed to do a lot of extra racing since joining Hendrick Motorsports this season – something team owner Rick Hendrick has generally discouraged his drivers from doing.

Read Also:

“It’s worked out really great for me. Cliff (Daniels, Larson’s Cup crew chief) I think understands that when I race, I get better. I just kind of go through with him on what races I want to run,” Larson said.

“He’s been cool to let me race as long as it’s not interfering with anything I’ve got going on with the NASCAR team because that’s always been my No. 1 priority, even in the past. I know a lot of people don’t think that.

“NASCAR has always been my No. 1 priority. I don’t miss anything. I don’t go race a dirt race when I could be doing something else with the NASCAR team, whether it be a sponsor appearance or sim day or whatever.

“I’m there for the NASCAR team. I’ve kept it that way.”

The benefits

There’s no doubt Larson keeps a hectic schedule but racing and competing for wins is what drives him and he believes being successful in one type of racing can help him become better in another.

“I think all the racing helps for everything. I win a Cup race, it helps me for dirt racing. I think, too, even though it’s different race cars, looking at the driver telemetry data and stuff helps when I go race a sprint car, as well,” he said.

“Then, too, I think just racing a lot (helps). I’m in racing situations more than anybody else in the world really, but especially in Cup. I think that helps me stay sharp, it helps me be aggressive, it helps me understand what things are doing, tracks changing, stuff like that.

“Too, I think you’re just getting into a rhythm and staying in a rhythm, where none of these guys are going to get back in a car until Saturday. I think it’s a big advantage for me to be in a car multiple times throughout the week.”

Right now, Larson’s team owner seems to agree.

“It makes him better to drive all these different cars, especially those high-horsepower cars on dirt,” Hendrick said of Larson. “The one thing that Cliff has talked to me about is (Larson) spends as much time or more time than any other driver in the shop.

“If he wants to race, he’s got this as a priority. I mean, he digs and digs and digs. It’s all he thinks about. I think he’s happier. I want him happy. I don’t want him hurt. I’ve kind of given up on these (stopping) guys wanting to drive.

“The crew chiefs and I have talked about it. They think it’s good. The safety deals are better. I’ve told them all they can drive what they want to.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ross Chastain rebounds for career-best finish at Nashville
Previous article

Ross Chastain rebounds for career-best finish at Nashville

Next article

Jeff Gordon to be vice chairman at Hendrick, leaves FOX Sports

Jeff Gordon to be vice chairman at Hendrick, leaves FOX Sports
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021