(WOMR file photo)
After being involved in one of the more horrendous accidents in recent memory at the opening race at Daytona this past February, an accident where Kyle Larson left everything forward of the firewall in the catchfence or grandstands, he has now won the Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of The Year award. (The above picture was taken the day before that race at Daytona, back in February.)
Additionally, Larson nearly logged his first NNS victory after leading the most laps at Homestead Saturday night, only to loose the lead with about four laps to go in the race.
In what has been an already impressive first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Kyle Larson added another accolade to his resume Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. In doing so, he becomes the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) graduate and first Asian-American driver to receive the award in a NASCAR national series.
Additionally, Larson was a member of the 2012 “NASCAR Next” class, an initiative designed to identify the sports next generation of stars. “Kyle’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award marks a historic moment for NASCAR and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “We couldn’t be happier for Kyle, and with the progress we have made in increasing minority and female on-track participation in the sport.”
Larson captured the rookie honors by 82 points over runner-up Alex Bowman. Larson, from Elk Grove, Calif., finished second four times (Bristol-1, Michigan, Dover-2 and Homestead) this season, and overall compiled nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. Kyle made headlines in April by winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway. That victory allowed Larson to become the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program to win a NASCAR national series race. In 2014 Larson will move up to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the #42 Chevy for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
As I have written several times this season, keep your eyes on this young gun. After watching Kyle Larson drive midgets and sprint cars on the West Coast over the last three years, there is no doubt that Larson has lots of talent, and could potentially be a Sprint Cup superstar in the making. Could this young man follow in the footsteps of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart? I think so, however, time will only tell!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!