Kyle Larson wanted to race with his NASCAR racing heroes, but he didn’t need to.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver discussed what his auto racing career goals were last week on the official World of Outlaws podcast, “Open Red.”
The 25-year-old driver was a guest on the show prior to his trip to New Zealand for a six race sprint car tour, which began with proposing to his girlfriend.
Early in the one-hour show, Larson was asked if competing in NASCAR had been always been the ultimate goal for the dirt racer from Elk Grove, California.
He gave an honest answer.
“As everybody knows, there’s a lot of money in the sport (NASCAR), and you know you can make a good living,” Larson said. “So yeah, I wanted to make it to NASCAR. So throughout the 2011 season I had opportunities to go Indy Lights racing and stuff like that, but I just wasn’t into that. I grew up watching Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and you wanted to race with them.”
Larson did get to do that, making his Cup debut in 2013. He’ll head to Daytona in February to start his fifth full-time season in the series.
“NASCAR is where I wanted to make it, but I would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t make it either,” Larson continued. “I’d probably be on the Outlaw (sprint car) tour probably right now, racing and loving life … I would say racing on the World of Outlaws tour full-time is my main goal; NASCAR’s just the step to get there.”
As part of his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, Larson is permitted to compete in 25 dirt races a year. While he won a career-best four Cup races in 2017, he also won multiple times in sprint cars, including six in a row at one point.
While the topic of Larson potentially competing in the Indianapolis 500 has come up multiple times in the last year, it wasn’t Larson’s answer when asked on “Open Red” what forms of racing he’s still eager to give a try.
“I would say a dirt late model is probably at the top of my list of cars I have not yet raced,” Larson said. “There’s plenty of stuff. But then like I said, I only got 25 (sprint car) races. So I’ve got people who approach me asking if I want to run their car and I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I can’t because I want to race the sprint car more.’ It stinks that I have to pick and choose a lot.”