Kyle Larson and Brian Scott make Sprint Cup debuts in Bank of America 500By Kala Perkins
As the green flag falls Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway there are only six races left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Not only will the Bank of America 500 be a vital race to the thirteen drivers in contention for the championship, but it will be a monumental race in the NASCAR careers of Kyle Larson and Brain Scott, who will be making their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debuts.
These drivers follow a long list of sixty-two other drivers that have made the Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including current drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
Larson, who currently sits ninth in points standings for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series season with Turner Scott Motorsports, will be driving the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Charlotte and again in two weeks at Martinsville.
Having already signed a deal with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to be the full-time driver of their No. 42 Chevrolet next season, Larson is taking this opportunity to gain some Sprint Cup Series experience before his full-time transition in 2014.
“I am very excited to get behind the wheel of a Cup car in Charlotte…especially getting to race with the Target bulls eye on the car,” Larson said. “I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the 2014 season and I cannot wait to get it started.”
Racing open-wheel cars and World of Outlaws Sprint cars as a teenager, winning the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship, and earning his first NASCAR Camping and World Truck Series race this season at Rockingham Speedway, have given Larson the notoriety of being one of NASCAR’s most talented young drivers.
Larson has spent some time in a Cup car, having tested at Rockingham Speedway and last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He will be starting the race in 21st position.
“My main goal is to try to finish the race,” Larson said. “I’d like maybe a top 17th or 18th-place finish. We were really good at Charlotte in the Nationwide race this spring. I’d say it’s in my top five favorite tracks.”
Brian Scott starts the Bank of America 500 in a slightly different situation than Kyle Larson. Although he does not have a full-time ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series next season, he is in a two-year deal with Richard Childress Racing with the plan of preparing for a future transition to the Cup series.
“When I first started to talk to Richard, it was with the understanding my aspirations were to be able run in the Cup series,” Scott said. “We went into this season working on being able to do a handful of Cup races and looked at some races that could work and eventually we settled on Charlotte.”
Scott said, “I think Charlotte is a great place to make my first start. Considering Richard Childress Racing won the Coca-Cola 600 in May, I think they have a good hold on the track and I should have a good starting point to try to get caught up on speed.”
Scott’s only recent experience in a Cup car was last week when his RCR team tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
After his test run, Scott said, “The test went good. A lot of it trying to figure out the difference in cars between the series, how to get speed and then we actually started working on the car and eventually did some mock qualifying runs. We had some fun with it. We felt our speed was good. The guys seemed pretty excited and I am, too.”
Scott will be starting the Bank of America 500 in 19th position, and will run another full Nationwide season with Richard Childress Racing in 2014.