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Kyle Larson Admits Modeling Career After Tony Stewart as Not Just a NASCAR Driver

Gowtham Ramalingam

Tony Stewart Recalls Hilarious Kyle Larson Story Proving How Most NASCAR Drivers Are Clueless About the Car

Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) driver Kyle Larson is regarded as one of the most well-versed race car drivers in the world today. The 31-year-old has never had it in him to limit himself to the tracks in NASCAR and continues transcending racing disciplines and boundaries every year. Currently, amid yet another busy season filled with exploring unknown quarters, he has detailed his outlook on his very diverse career.

He said to NASCAR Regional, “I never viewed myself as just a Cup Series driver. Ever since I got into stock cars, I’ve continued to race dirt. I always look up to guys like Tony Stewart, who continue to race other forms of racing and kind of model my career after his a little bit.” He continued that racing outside NASCAR ultimately helps with his performance in it.

Larson taking after Stewart is an obvious match. There’s little that the 3X Cup Series champion hasn’t raced and won in. Notably, he is the only driver to complete the Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 doubleheader challenge that Larson will attempt next month. While every person in NASCAR deems the HMS star to be on the level of Tony Stewart, Stewart believes a tad bit more.

“Kyle Larson is better than I was,” he said to Autoweek in 2021. “I remember watching him during the first time he ran the 4-Crown Nationals, and won all three races, in his first time racing here [At age 19]. This isn’t the easiest place to come to for your first time and for him to take a Midget, a Sprint Car, and a Silver Crown and just dominate in the fashion that he did.”

The role of Rick Hendrick in helping Kyle Larson race the world

One of the main catalysts behind the HMS driver being able to explore his other interests is the openness of team owner Rick Hendrick. He said to Race Review Online last year, When I first started talking to Kyle, he convinced me that it made him sharper. One of the shows I watched, they had a clip on Kyle Larson crashes. I called him. He said, ‘You weren’t supposed to see that.” 

Mr. Hendrick believes that despite his initial reluctance he has found that racing outside the boundaries helps his drivers. William Byron, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman have all followed in his footsteps and tried their shot at other disciplines. Bowman, however, has been placed on a temporary sabbatical after his season-hurting injury in 2023.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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