Kyle Larson’s NASCAR Sprint Cup debut didn’t end the way he wanted it to. But he sure had fun while it lasted.
Larson was running 16th in Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when the engine in his No.51 Chevy let go on Lap 247. He was done for the night with a 37th-place finish.
But that didn’t really matter.
“I had a blast,” said Larson, who will take over the No.42 Chevy for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in the Cup series in 2014. “I look forward to doing this all next year. We were inside the top 16 for most of the race and I’m very proud of that.”
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Larson, 21, is considered one of the NASCAR’s top young talents. He’s making a quick stop in the Nationwide Series this season before heading off to the top series.
It didn’t take Larson long to notice the difference.
“I learned a little bit,” said Larson, who started 21st. “It’s a little similar to the Nationwide car, but the track changed a lot more. It moved around a lot more. Some runs were loose and free, some were tight. I learned a lot about driving in the dirty air.”
Brian Scott, another driver competing in his first Cup race, finished 27th and four laps down after starting 19th.
The main difference for Larson – who tested a Cup car recently at Rockingham and Charlotte – was the length of the race.
“It was a lot longer,” Larson said, laughing. “I asked what lap we were on once and we weren’t even halfway yet. I’ll get used to that the more I race.”
Larson said he will compete in a race in California next week before returning to his temporary Cup ride at Martinsville in two weeks.
“It was a great experience,” said Larson. “I got to work with some of the Earnhardt Ganassi crew and get some laps in. It’s great preparation for next season.”