Defending winner of the 2017 Auto Club 400, Kyle Larson, was inducted into the Auto Club Speedway’s Walk of Fame on Friday.
Larson dominated last season by becoming the first driver to sweep both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series races, as well as earning the pole during Cup qualifying. He is the first driver to earn this feat, and propelled himself to an eighth place finish in the season standings. His career at the two-mile oval has been solid. In four starts, he has one career win, one pole and two top-5 finishes. In the Xfinity series, he holds five career starts with two trips to victory lane.
“I didn’t even know they did this until I got the announcement a few weeks ago,” Larson stated during the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, which took place just outside the main gate fan entrance. “Looking at all the names who have won here, it’s nice to have my name next to Jimmie [Johnson], Jeremy Mayfield and Jeff Gordon.”
After pictures were taken with his plaque and track president, Dave Allen, Larson put on his race shoes for the tradition of placing his footprints into the cement next to his plaque. A special addition was having his son, Owen, join with him and place his hands underneath his footprints on the same slab of concrete.
“There was a lot of fans out there, which was real cool, and a lot of my fans,” he shared in a press conference later that morning. “Getting awarded that and getting my permanent mark on this racetrack, and to have Owen’s little handprints there, which I think is funny too. I have my footprints and his hands are right below it, so people are going to look at that and think, ‘Man, Kyle Larson has really small hands.’
“It was cool to do that and to get the surfboard. The trophy that I won from this race last year is still the coolest trophy I’ve got in my collection. This race does a lot for their winner, so it’s cool to see that.”
Auto Club Speedway, located in Fontana, California, opened the track’s Walk of Fame in 1997 and began their tradition with Jeff Gordon. He was the initial inductee the following year after winning the inaugural race.