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EGR must consider the Logano example before putting Larson in Sprint Cup ride

By admin | August 15, 2013

 Will Kyle Larson replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the #42 car next year?

By Richard Allen

Kyle Larson is such a good young racer that he is considered by many to be a “can’t miss” prospect in terms of his future in NASCAR. After all, the 21 year old California native has already won a Camping World Truck Series race, he currently has twelve top-10s and ranks 8th in the Nationwide Series and he has won sprint car races all over the country. Everything about him suggests that he will someday be a super star at the highest level of the sport.

So, when Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing let it be known earlier this week that the team would not renew the contract of driver Juan Pablo Montoya, Larson’s name almost immediately surfaced as a potential replacement in the #42 Target Chevrolet.

EGR does have a driver development contract with Larson.

But before anyone extends or accepts an offer for Larson to move to NASCAR’s top division on a fulltime basis, his qualifications to do so must be carefully considered. After all, he has never started a Sprint Cup race. Further, he has only 21 Nationwide and six CWTS events worth of experience under his belt.

Vote in the poll questions on Kyle Larson and Joey Logano—————->

There are no guarantees of success or failure in the racing business, but even with all his obvious talent, Larson’s is a fairly thin resume for someone being considered for a Sprint Cup ride.

History has provided a number of examples of drivers who were labeled as “can’t miss” prospects early in life who never went on to experience the success that was expected of them.

Remember just a few short years ago when Joey Logano received that same label?

Was Joey Logano rushed to Sprint Cup before he was ready?

At only 17 years of age, Logano won six NASCAR K & N Pro Series races. And by the age of 18, he added a Nationwide Series win to his list of early accomplishments. So, when Tony Stewart announced that he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to help form Stewart-Haas Racing, it seemed obvious that the young development driver in the JGR stable who had already achieved great things ought to step into the ride being left by the (at that time) two-time series champion.

With hindsight providing 20/20 vision, it seems now that Logano was rushed to the top division before he was ready. After four full seasons in the JGR #20, he was let go by the organization to pursue other opportunities. At only 22 years old, some have gone so far as to label the driver a failure.

It’s not as if Logano’s time at JGR was a total disaster. He did win two Sprint Cup races and he proved his talent by piling up 18 Nationwide Series wins there. But considering what the #20 car had done prior to his arrival and what teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch achieved in the same time period, it seems fair to say that Logano underachieved at with the Gibbs organization.

Perhaps Larson is a different case. There is no question he has considerable racing talent, and he is a couple of years older than Logano was when he moved to the top division. However, their racing resumes are somewhat similar at the same stages of their careers.

Sponsors will certainly be involved in the call one way or the other. If EGR decides to move Kyle Larson into their #42 car for next season, he may experience unheard of success or he may not. But before any such move is made, the example provided by Joe Gibbs Racing and Joey Logano has to be at least considered.

Topics: Articles |

12 Responses to “EGR must consider the Logano example before putting Larson in Sprint Cup ride”

  1. Tony Geinzer Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Rich, I would argue to the moon to have Larson be promoted to IndyCar, but, not as a token default to make Steve Turner be spooked more potential employees. I would take the 1960s Packers over the 2000s Patriots only because the 2Ks Pats expected the other 31 Teams to Tilt To Them. A lot of us are not going to settle that easy and I don’t know in context, if Brian Vickers would have at least defended his BGN Title in 04 vs. Going to Cup? It’s too late to undo it now,Rich!

  2. Michael in SoCal Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Absolutely true. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Newman to the 42 for a couple of years, mostly to mentor Kyle Larson. I see McMurray with one year left on his contract, then Kyle Larson being brought up with an Driver / Engineer to mentor him.

  3. Michael in SoCal Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Although, Kurt Busch to the 42 could be interesting because of Ganassi’s Indy Car ties. KB does want to run the Indy 500 next year, so there’s that possibility.

    But by no means should Kyle Larson be brought up to run Cup without at least another full season of Nationwide racing. Logano is a great example of why. Or Dario Franchitti, another open wheel standout who didn’t get the time he needed to adjust to the different cars.

  4. RacingFan Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    The question of whether moving a driver up to the top division too soon is harmful, or at least will delay development is an interesting one. If you look at other sports in high school, a coach will almost invariably move a young player up to varsity as soon as the coach thinks the player can help the team at all. They don’t leave the player in a lower team to develop. Sometimes they still play some lower level games, but they practice and play with the varsity team.

    Many drivers of other types of race cars have tried to drive in NASCAR, but they never have reached the point where they were called a great NASCAR driver - at least on the ovals. In stead of what they learned transferring to NASCAR, it almost seems that years of starring in another type of car rewires the brain to prevent greatness on the NASCAR ovals. Penske has been trying to use Indy drivers in NASCAR for years - even having Gary Bettenhausen drive his Matador (unsuccessfully), and evidently still has not learned the lesson after all these years.

    Steve Kinser was the tops in sprint cars but not in NASCAR. The list is long.

    You might think AJ Foyt was an exception, but he used to race regularly in the USAC stock car division, so he had continuing experience in stock cars as well as the open wheeled cars. Also, his success in NASCAR was mainly on the supertracks, though he did win at Ontario.

    Nationwide is probably similar enough to the cup cars that nothing will have to be unlearned by the young drivers. But, will they really learn faster there than they would in cup watching, learning from and imitating the top drivers? I don’t feel that spending more time in Nationwide being beneficial is a settled question. Logano might be an aberration.

  5. Offkilter Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Why waste a year. He’s a gifted young man. JPM has been given years to produce and for whatever reason he stays mired in mid pack. Larson, imo, can deliver those same results straight out the gate all the while as he gets a jump on the higher HP learning curve.

  6. Russ Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    IMHO, the question of who will be the #42’s driver next year will hinge primarily on sponsor money. Can Larson, or whoever, bring in more money than Newman? If not, or well perhaps next year.
    But of course I could be wrong.

  7. Sully Says:
    August 16th, 2013 at 1:00 am

    I bristle at the hype Larson has, wrong a thousand percent wrong. The same type of folks who ran Logano up to soon seem to be setting their sites on this young man. Leave him alone. Logano has got a bum deal with the nickname “Sliced Bread” not of his doing and being the third wheel at JGR with an automatic expectation of being a young insane Tony Stewart. Not fair to Logano but thats how it played out. I don’t think that JGR supported him the way they should, he was superior in NW and ran rings around his peer group and older drivers. The lofty unforgiving Cup fan and media was/is horrible in calling him a has been or worse at the tender age of 23 comparing him to drivers twenty years older but he hasn’t given up and is doing stellar work at Penske this year. If it wasn’t for the back to back blowouts, the points dock, getting caught up in Kyle’s mess he would be SOLID in “The Chase” this year. Good things ahead, we firmly believe. The point being leave this young talent alone, there are plenty of other drivers, let Kyle be, and things will happen. My two cents.

  8. Chris Fiegler Says:
    August 16th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I would put somebody in the #42 Target Chevrolet that Can win about 2 or 3 Races a Year.

  9. Jesse Says:
    August 16th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    EGR in Nascar is a real losing deal, just look over the years at what they have done in a total year of races. Larson is the real deal but not right now and not with EGR. He needs to run everything on pavment he can for another year.

  10. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    August 17th, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Two words:

    Casey Atwood

  11. Josh D. Says:
    August 17th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Kyle Larson will not fall into the same hole that Joey Logano is still trying to crawl out of. If Kyle was to be promoted to the 42 car next season, he will be doing so with an entire Nationwide season under his belt plus some truck starts sprinkled in. Joey Logano only had half a season of Nationwide starts and a few Cup starts when he was rushed into the top level. If Kyle can get a few Cup starts before the season’s end, I fell he’ll be ready to take the next step.
    The only problem I see is that I don’t think EGR is ready for him. Kyle will be put in a car/team that has not performed along with and entire organization that in its current form has only made the Chase once. Nothing against Jamie McMurray, but I don’t think he’ll be a sufficient teammate to help Kyle along with his transition. The team is going to need a drive such as Mark Martin to come over either in a 3rd R&D car or split the schedule with Larson in the 42 to help the organization get in the right direction before EGR loses a very talented prospect.

  12. Richard Petersen Says:
    August 18th, 2013 at 2:10 am

    I agree. I actually, unlike Chip Ganassi and a few other people, want to see Kyle Larson succeed in NASCAR. I mean I know Jimmie Johnson rarely raced in NATIONWIDE and went to CUP right in the get go, buy for one…Johnson wasn’t 18 or 19 in 2002 and they aren’t cheaters like Jimmie is. So there is a huge difference in that. Give Larson another year or 2 before thinking about moving him to CUP.