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Report: Kyle Larson to join Earnhardt-Ganassi in Sprint Cup next year

Aug 28, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

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Thanks to his impressive work on both dirt and asphalt, 21-year-old Kyle Larson has become one of NASCAR’s most hyped young talents in some time. Now, it appears he’ll be moving on up to the Sprint Cup Series.

A report from The Charlotte Observer says that Larson, who currently drives for Turner Scott Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, has been tapped to become the new driver of the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

EGR recently told Juan Pablo Montoya that he would not return to the No. 42 next season. The team has set a press conference for Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Since Montoya’s departure from EGR was announced, Larson had been considered as a potential replacement because of his ties to the team as one of its development drivers.

He has persevered nicely after being involved in a wild crash during the Nationwide season opener in February at Daytona International Speedway – an incident that saw his car get airborne and smash into the catch fence, with the impact sending parts into the grandstands and injuring fans.

He earned his first Camping World Truck Series win in April at Rockingham (N.C.), and was a threat to win the Trucks’ dirt-track debut last month at Eldora Speedway. As for his main duties in NNS, Larson currently runs eighth in the championship (six Top-5s, 13 Top-10s).

Prior to 2013, though, Larson had already made a considerable name for himself. In 2011, he earned 22 feature wins across USAC, World of Outlaws and the American Sprint Car Series – including an impressive sweep of all three USAC races (midget, sprint car and Silver Crown) at that year’s 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora.

But 2012 saw him shift his main focus to stock car racing, and he proved his talent once more by winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title with two wins, seven Top-5s, and 12 Top-10s.

Performances like that have made some NASCAR fans wonder what he could do against the top dogs in Sprint Cup. Additionally, Larson’s apparent promotion may be setting up a fascinating Rookie of the Year duel next season between himself and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who is expected to make a 2014 jump to Cup as well.

  1. bgarcia6781 - Aug 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    To soon for him to move up. needs another year in nationwide and trucks

  2. burm61 - Aug 28, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Ganassi will ruin this kid. Just like the last time he had a 20 year old “next big thing” Reed Sorenson. I’m pulling for Larson but this isn’t smart.

  3. bmcgrath2 - Aug 28, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    They do realize this kid will have ONE SEASON in the Nationwide Series under his belt, right? I could really care less about the lack of wins. It’s more the experience he needs to gain.

    I was really thinking they would’ve gone for the combo of Mark Martin and Kyle Larson in the #42 ride next year. He could’ve learned from one of the best and slid to full-time in 2015. I don’t understand what bad could’ve come from the natural learning curve of Larson running 10-12 races in 2014.

    But hey, what the heck do I know? They must see something that we don’t.

  4. indycarseries500 - Aug 28, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Maybe he could use some more seasoning but Tony Stewart was always kind of a dud in the Busch Series and turned out to be a pretty good Cup racer.

  5. wiscpaul - Aug 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    @bmcgrath2, You should look into his record. He really does deserve this shot. He’s a true racer. He’s come a long way and winning the whole time. The kids got skills. Makes a lot more sense than giving Danica a full time ride.
    Also JPM will be winning in sports cars right away.

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