Kyle Larson moved up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after only spending one season in the Nationwide Series. The rookie driver assumed the No. 42 Chevrolet SS at Chip Ganassi Racing.
Larson, 21, raced in four Sprint Cup races last season to prepare for his full season in the Cup series. In the first two of those races, Larson experienced engine issues. In the next two, he finished 23rd and 15th, respectively.
In the first four races of this season, three of his finishes were inside the top 20. His best finish came this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he finished tenth.
Larson is working to adjust to a new series, racing against tougher competition. He said the two biggest adjustments for him is communication between the crew chief and himself and the competition on the track.
“There’s a lot of adjustments.” Larson said after the race at Bristol. ” Maybe the one that stands out is trying to get your feedback right to your crew chief from Happy Hour to the race. That’s something we’ve struggled with at Phoenix and Vegas both, were making the right adjustments on the car to start out the race good. We got behind a little bit in the beginning of both races and it’s hard to come back from those.”
“Communicating well with your crew chief, even though I ran those Cup races last year, these really are the first four races I’ve got to work with Chris Heroy. I did some testing with him last year, but it’s totally different than putting yourself in situations in races and stuff. The communication part has been a big adjustment.”
Larson heads to his home state of California this weekend for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana. He feels that the team has had fast cars all season, but just hasn’t capitalized on it and making mistakes. He is hoping the good finish at Bristol brings consistency going forward for the team.
Larson likes Cup drivers racing in Nationwide Series
Larson said that racing in the Cup series has actually helped him in the NNS. “When I get in the Nationwide car, it feels slow. ” Larson said. ”
Things happen slower. I have more confidence in that. That’s why I’ve been running really well in that car so far, too. I think it helps the Cup Series a little bit, but I think it helps the Nationwide Series a whole bunch.”
Larson is a fan of having top-tier Cup drivers race alongside him in the NNS, and says he would be disappointed if NASCAR stopped allowing them to race in the series. ” I think the Nationwide regulars like Cup guys running with them. ” Larson said.
“I know I do. I consider myself still young, I guess, in racing stockcars. Whenever I’m out there with guys like Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, I can see them in front of me, I’m learning a lot from them.”
“I like it. I think it’s good for the development side of the young drivers ’cause it is a development series for those kids. I think it’s a good thing for NASCAR to have the Cup guys in there because it’s just going to make their series more competitive when those young guys move up.”