By admin | August 15, 2013
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?
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.
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