Kyle Larson ‘Felt Like a Super Star’ With Top Ten Truck Finish
By Mary Jo Buchanan On Mon, Jul. 02, 2012
[media-credit name=”Photo Credit: kylelarsonracing.com” align=”alignright” width=”157″][/media-credit]Making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway, one young driver just wanted to learn and finish the race.
But Kyle Larson, behind the wheel of the No. 4 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Mobile App, finished top ten and simply “felt like a super star.”
“That was a big surprise,” Larson said. “I didn’t get much practice there so I didn’t really know how I was going to do.”
“And with me blowing a motor up and not having much practice, as well as being a go or go homer, I didn’t push it too hard in qualifying,” Larson continued. “I just wanted to spend the first part of the race figuring out how the truck handled and how the air moved around.”
“Once I learned some stuff, I could really race and I could start picking off people,” Larson said. “And then I found myself in the top ten, so I was really excited about it.”
“I felt like a super star.”
With a top-ten in his Truck debut, Larson also garnered a fair amount of attention, particularly from the media. But the young driver took it all in stride.
“I don’t pay too much attention about it,” Larson said. “The spot light’s been on me for quite a while now.”
“I just try to go out and race because that’s my job and I love doing it,” Larson continued. “I just want to go out and win. And if I keep winning, the spot light will be even better.”
Although Larson seemingly sprang onto the NASCAR scene, he has been driving since the age of seven. And he has an extremely impressive racing resume.
“I started racing outlaw karts when I was seven,” Larson said. “They’re 400 pound go karts with 500 cc engines. So, they have way too much power for how much they weigh.”
“I did that for about seven or eight years and moved into 360 and 410 sprint cars on dirt when I was 14,” Larson continued. “I won a couple races the first two years and my fourth year I won the championship and last year was my first year racing nationally in USAC in all their divisions.”
“I also ran some outlaw races and I’m the only other driver besides I think Tony Stewart to win in all the open wheel national touring series all in one year,” Larson said. “I swept the four crown last year at Eldora Speedway and I did it my first try. That was cool to do.”
“Last year I won a lot of big races so last year stands out to me because of that.”
Larson has also been part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, running in the K&N Pro Series East under the auspices of Rev Racing. And the young racer credits much of his success so far to that program.
“It’s helped me a lot,” Larson said. “My mom’s Japanese so that’s how I’m in the diversity program.”
“I run for Rev Racing and we’ve been pretty good all year,” Larson continued. “We got a win at Gresham a couple weeks ago.”
“We just got to make the right calls for the race,” Larson said. “That’s our biggest problem we’ve had this year, not keeping up with the race track because it changes so much.”
“I think if we work on that, we’ll be better and win some more races.”
While Larson enjoys driving all types of race cars, his favorite being the winged sprint car, he sees himself racing in NASCAR’s highest levels. And ultimately, he would like to own his own race team.
“Hopefully the route I’m going will take me to the Sprint Cup Series some day,” Larson said. “That’s my goal and that’s what I want to do.”
“I want to race with Stewart and Gordon and Kahne and all those guys every week,” Larson continued. “And I’d like someday to own my own team like Kahne and Tony do.”
“That’s my goal is to get to the Sprint Cup Series so I can help young kids coming up.”
Larson aspires to be like two drivers in the Cup Series currently, but for very different reasons.
“As far as a driver, I’d like to be like Kyle Busch because he wins, not a whole lot this year, but he’s a talented driver and he always gives 110%,” Larson said. “As far as off the track goes, I think I need to be like Jimmie Johnson.”
“He’s really good with the fans and really good with the sponsors too,” Larson continued. “I’d like to be a driver like Kyle and like Jimmie off the track.”
But for now, the young up and comer just hopes he can do some more truck racing, which of course is dependent on sponsorship.
“Yeah, sponsors mean a lot as far as getting rides,” Larson said. “I’ve been lucky being with Chip Ganassi Racing and he helped out a lot with this year and also with the truck race at Kentucky.”
“He has been a great help to me and hopefully we can find some more sponsors to get some more races,” Larson continued. “It’s tough to do with the economy being so bad.”
“They’ve talked about a few more races but it all depends on if we get a sponsor,” Larson said. “If it were up to me, I’d be racing every weekend in that truck.”
“I had a lot of fun.”
Larson’s family also had a great time watching him race in his first ever Truck race. Although his parents still live in his native California, they have taken off this summer to watch their son and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“Right now, my mom and dad are with me at these races, hanging out,” Larson said. “My dad just retired so he has some time now to come watch me.”
“They were really happy after the Truck race,” Larson continued. “My dad’s a crier so he was up in the stands tearing up.”
“They were really excited and happy that I did good in my first start.”
For fans who want to get to know the young Larson, he has two surprises to share. The first is his passions off the track and the other is his interesting exercise regimen, or lack thereof.
“These past few weeks, I raced every day,” Larson said. “I don’t get a lot of free time but when I do, I’m out fishing.”
“During the winter, I like to go snowboarding when I can,” Larson continued. “I’m not good at it but I like going down the mountain.”
“I’m also really skinny but I love to eat,” Larson continued. “And no, I don’t work out at all.”
“I worked out a few times this year with Rev Racing but then I started racing so I didn’t have time,” Larson said. “I don’t get tired though.”
“That’s what I think people would find surprising about me,” Larson said. “I never get winded. I think it’s just because I stay calm.”
Finally, the young racer is simply enjoying his time in the sun, especially during his Truck debut.
“That’s really the first time I’ve ever raced with all that media around,” Larson said. “So that was cool to get interviewed.”
“I really did feel like a super star.”