Kyle Larson won 2014 Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the No. 42 Chevrolet for Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He will file a Blog periodically on IMS.com, chronicling his second year in Sprint Cup. This week he talks about his experiences with the Indianapolis 500, his Ganassi colleagues in the Verizon IndyCar Series and making his 50th Sprint Cup start this weekend at Kansas.
It’s the Month of May, which at the Ganassi shop takes on special meaning with the Indy 500 and everything leading up to that race. Long before I joined Ganassi, the 500 was special to my family because my Dad loves Indy cars and loves the “500.” That was always a race we were watching at home or if we were at a sprint car race somewhere, we’d try to find a TV to watch. I got to go to the Indy 500 in 2013, and being there was awesome – we walked through Gasoline Alley with the whole Target team and Chip, with all the fans screaming. There’s no other race that I’ve been a part of that has a feeling like the “500;” everything leading up to the race is so amazing, then once the race starts it’s a great show, with drivers swapping positions almost every lap.
Last year, they had the race on the big screen at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the fans to watch leading up to the 600. The moves those guys were making at the end were crazy. They all started running right around the bottom of the racetrack, even on the straightaways, just making really gutsy moves into the corners. Having driven around that racetrack, there’s not much room as it is, and they were making some pretty insane passes. It was just a great race, as it almost always is there.
I’m really happy to be driving for Ganassi in NASCAR, but I’d definitely like to give running the “500” a try someday. It would be fun for me, and running it would make my dad very proud if he saw his kid driving in his favorite race. A lot of things would need to fall in place, but being with Chip, hopefully there’s an opportunity and having Target as my sponsor on my Cup car, it would be nice if I could drive a Target Indy car there someday.
Watching the Indy 500 now is also cool because I have my Ganassi teammates to cheer on. I only get to see Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Charlie and Sage a couple times a year, but they’re great drivers, great guys and fun to hang out with. Kanaan, he tells a lot of stories back when he and Dan Wheldon were around. He says they were always playing pranks on each other. As for Dixon, I feel like he and I have similar personalities, we’re both kind of quiet but then we also have that other side where we have a strong sense of humor and can make people laugh. Dixie’s a great guy and a great driver. In the Rolex (24 at Daytona) it was down to him to win the race for us, and it’s cool to have all the confidence in the world in a guy like Scott Dixon because he’s just amazing at what he does.
Back to NASCAR, we’re starting our month of May in Kansas, which will be my 50th career Cup start. It’s pretty cool to reach that milestone, and the time kind of flew by. Doesn’t seem like I’ve run that many. It’s kind of cool it worked out for me to make my 50th start at Kansas; it’s a track where I’ve run good at in the past and the style of racetrack where I’ve been good since I’ve raced in NASCAR. Hopefully we can put a solid race together and try to get a good finish. A win would be nice but a top 5 would be great. (Editor’s note: Kyle finished 15th.)
Until next time,