It didn’t take long for Kyle Larson to realize he’d found the right fit in NASCAR – about as long as it took to meet team owner Chip Ganassi.
During a 15-minute visit to the Chip Ganassi Racing shop – his last stop on a whirlwind tour of the Charlotte hub for NASCAR organizations in October 2011 – Larson and his agent, Jeff Dickerson, met with the team owner.
“Chip and Jeff have a long, great history together,” Larson recalled on a NASCAR on NBC podcast episode that was released Wednesday. “Yeah, it was quick. Probably within the first minute it was, ‘Yo Dickerson, how are we going to sign this guy up?’ ”
It would take another few months for the deal to reach fruition in January 2012 while Larson was racing at the prestigious Chili Bowl in Tulsa Oklahoma. Larson’s father, Mike, recounted the process of his son’s emergence as star and courtship by NASCAR teams in a story for TheDriversProject.com entitled “Hell Week.”
On the podcast, Kyle Larson provides his recollection of those events, from becoming an overnight sensation on the short tracks of Indiana (“my life was changing by the day”) to gleaning advice from Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart to a stressful period of contract negotiations that also involved a ride in the K&N Series with Rev Racing.
The team wanted Larson to work in its shop and abandon sprint car racing, but he refused.
“I’m going to drive myself crazy if I’m not racing and going to the shop and working on stuff,” he said. “They don’t want me working on stuff. Sweeping the floors, I can do that. You can’t take somebody away from something they love doing.”
Larson also discussed why he loves dirt racing, what was unexpected about his first Sprint Cup win and his hopes for racing at the Indianapolis 500.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.
Here are time cues for easy referencing while listening to the episode: