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The Relentless Rise of Kyle Larson

All he does is win. To the casual fan and those across the pond, Kyle Larson might jump out as simply, the guy who took the number 42 Chevrolet off the hands of a struggling Juan Pablo Montoya. The former Ganassi driver has cemented his spot at the top of the driver standings after his fifth win of the season at Watkins Glen. All that, after going up and down in the twisty road of redemption. Take a look at Larson’s relentless rise.

Getting Sacked

Kyle Larson lost his seat at  Ganassi Racing in April 2020 for using a racial slur on a stream in the middle of the current health crisis. He was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and had to settle for racing in the dirt. He later appeared on CBS to clear things up. Saying “I am not a racist […] I had to get that word out of my system and I have.” The former 42 driver also admitted to his insensitivity stating “I didn’t realize what the word meant for people.”

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When hope seemed lost Rick Hendrick showed up, signing him to a multi-year contract to race his number 5 Camaro. More importantly, the owners of Philadelphia’s Urban Youth Racing School also stepped up for the former winner. The organization connects Philly’s Afro-American kids to the world of racing. An organization in which Kyle has taken part for many years.

Such a word has no place in motorsports. NASCAR, with its new sense of inclusivity, is not the exception to that rule. After some thought, they reinstated Larson in October of last year, effective January 1st, 2021. The ride was his and so was the chance. He has run with it and never looked back since.

Win After Win After Win

Kyle Larson has had quite the car after returning to the Cup Series. His first win came in March at Las Vegas and was followed by a 600-mile victory in April at Charlotte. He then went back-to-back and won his third race turning left and right at Sonoma Raceway. His last win so far came at another road course: Watkins Glen. This looks even more impressive if we put them in numbers. Take a look.

By the Numbers

Five wins. That is almost as much as his total career victories after the start of this season. Not only that but, there are still four regular season races left and the entire Playoffs so that number could very well increase. 35 races. 35 of which he has won five: 20 percent of the season so far has been dominated by him.

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It’s not only about crossing the line first, he has won races from start to finish. Look no further than his stage wins for the season: 12. More than double of second-place Martin Truex Jr. with 5. His 1468 laps on the lead also make Truex’s stats look tiny. Not just his but, everyone’s for that matter. Nonetheless, all these numbers are useless if he can’t win come Postseason time. After all, it is “win or go home”. Can he win it all by the end of the season?

Could Larson Win it All?

Simply put: yes, he can. If you look at the schedule of what was once known as “The Chase” you’ll see there is no racetrack where he underperforms. The 29-year-old came in second at Darlington. He won in Vegas. So did he at Charlotte in the toughest, most grueling race of the season. There’s really no reason he can’t really go all the way at the same tracks come Playoff time.

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Even if he struggles at the very end at Phoenix, all he has to do is finish ahead of the other three drivers in the final four. Then, his rise to redemption and path to NASCAR glory will be completed.

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