Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Sports

July 2, 2014

Larson looks forward to Indy racing return

NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson came from humble beginnings as a sprint car racer, and now drives the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Larson has positioned himself at the head of a very talented NASCAR rookie class that includes driver Austin Dillon. Larson leads all rookies with 199 points, while Dillon is second with 174.

Larson currently sits 12th in Sprint Cup points, and hopes to be the first rookie to make the Chase since Denny Hamlin in 2006.

The 21-year-old driver has pulled double duty throughout the season, running in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. Larson said sprint car racing is never far from his mind, and now he watches his friends compete and gives information and advice where applicable.

Larson doesn’t expect to be in action on July 24 when USAC Midgets and Silver Crown racing takes place at Lucas Oil Raceway. Larson won the Midgets race in 2011 and finished as the runner-up in 2013 and ‘14.

“It’s special to me because I spent a year in Indiana and had a lot of friends there,” Larson said. “Sprint car racing is huge in Indiana, and that to me is what is most special. I put a lot of thought into (racing at LOR), but I’ll probably just be there to watch.”

With two other races (Nationwide and Sprint Cup) as part of Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard, Larson will have his hands full.

“To win a race at (IMS) is a dream come true, no matter what car it’s in,” Larson said. “It’d mean a ton to Chip Ganassi to get the Target/Scott car in victory lane. I’m definitely looking forward to that one.”

Larsen has had to cut back on sprint races, and the switch sits well with the Sprint Cup rookie.

“It’s not been bad at all, really,” Larson said. “I was surprised being such a diehard sprint car racer and fan. I thought not racing a lot of dirt tracks would be bad and I’d be bored, but I’m not. I’ve been to a handful sprint car races, and only a couple of times have I wished I was out there.”

Larson has three top-five finishes and seven top-10s as he chases the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. With eight drivers in the hunt, competition is tight.

“I’m really happy that there is such a great rookie class,” Larson said. “This year with (so many drivers), to win would be awesome. If I could beat Austin, that would be great because I only have a couple of years racing stock cars.”

Larson is no stranger to rookie awards, as he has won both the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year and the ‘13 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year.

Follow Hendricks County Flyer Sports Editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.

 

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