The “California Kid,” Kyle Larson has exceeded all expectations so far this season.
Larson is currently leading in the point standings, and has already solidified his spot in the Chase by winning at Auto Club Speedway in California last week. He is currently 29 points up on second place in points, which is held by Chase Elliot. This is Larson’s fourth full season in the top level of NASCAR and he has been fun to watch ever since he got a full time ride.
I think it is finally time to take Kyle Larson seriously.
Kyle Larson is 24 years old and won the 2014 Rookie of the Year award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a 21-year-old. Larson is a Japanese-American who got his start through the NASCAR Diversity Program. He made is way up through the ranks and finally reached his destination as a full time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.
Larson’s first three years in NASCAR’s top level were pretty successful.
It took him three years to get his first win in the Monster Energy Series, which he got at Michigan last year. His best overall points finish was 9th, which he achieved last year. But now, he is a strong contender to win the championship.
He has been in position to win in every race this year. He had three 2nd place finishes in a row. In each of those races he was either leading late, or in a position to make a move for the win late. He survived a late race restart to take his first win of the season in California this past weekend. But if this strong start is any implication of what his season is going to be like, there are many more wins to come.
Larson races for Chip Ganassi Racing. He hasn’t had much success until late last season where he started to rake in the quality finishes. This year he is having the best season of his career.
But it’s not just Kyle Larson that is having a fantastic year for his team.
Larson’s teammate Jamie McMurray is also having a great start to the season. Chip Ganassi is finally looking to be on the right track, after many years of lack-luster performance, and I think a lot of that is thanks to Kyle Larson and what he has brought to that team over the past few years.
If things keep up for Larson, he may lead the championship points by a demanding margin by the end of the season going into the Chase. If he can keep momentum up for the whole season, he will definitely be a threat once the Chase rolls around in September. I realize that he’s probably not going to have great finishes ever week (nobody will) but consistency is key in a sport like NASCAR, and Larson is by far the most consistent driver thus far this season.