Kyle Larson has arrived in NASCAR. Why is that news? Because Larson was supposed to be the future star of the sport. He was going to spend some time in the Camping World Truck Series, and Nationwide Series, learning the sport before being introduced to the bright lights of the big time. Instead the California native has grabbed his sunglasses to handle the attention he has garnered in just the first two months of his NASCAR career.
Larson’s first exposure to the spotlight came at the UNOH Battle at the Beach. Driving in the Late Model race he turned the leader, C.E.Falk, into the infield coming out of the final turn to pick up the victory. The win set off a firestorm among fellow competitors and NASCAR fans with many feeling the victory should of been taken away. He met the criticism head on, offering no apologies for doing what he felt was necessary to win.
Danica Patrick was all anyone talked about in the week prior to the running of the Daytona 500. However, that all changed when a car driven by Larson got airborne coming to the finish line of the Nationwide race on the Saturday prior to the running of the 500. The number 32 Clorox car was launched into the fence separating the spectators from the track, catching a pole used as part of a crossover gate. The impact sent parts of Larson’s car into the stands, including his engine and wheels. Larson walked from the car unhurt.
The crash, however, cast the young Larson back into the NASCAR spotlight. The video footage of the wreck was played everywhere from ESPN to the most local of news stations. He was now associated with a controversial race ending, and one of the most spectacular crashes in NASCAR history. All in the first two weeks of the season.
After two weeks of racing which weren’t particularly noteworthy, Larson again returned to the NASCAR spotlight at Bristol. The 20 year old raced down the leader of the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300, Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch in the closing laps. As the two approached the finish line on the last lap they encountered heavy lapped traffic. Busch chose to go low opening up the top for Larson. NASCAR’s future star went for it, and drove up alongside Busch, only to finish second by inches.
The finish was the second closest in Bristol Motor Speedway history. Larson had lost the battle of the Kyle’s on the track, but not among the fans and media. While Kyle Busch celebrated in victory lane, Larson’s drive, and near upset victory, was all anyone seemed to want to discuss.
NASCAR nation your future has arrived. His name is Kyle Larson, and if he can keep up what he has done in just a few short months, that future looks bright. Grab your sunglasses everyone and enjoy the ride.