While Kyle Larson thinks it’s “cool just to hear my name” in the rumor mill, he’s focused on his job with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Larson’s contract expires at the end of the 2020 season. With Jimmie Johnson announcing he’ll retire after one more season, Larson, along with other drivers who are also set to be free agents — Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney, to name a few — have become the subjects of early speculation.
Ganassi has been the only team Larson has driven for in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’s been a full-time driver since 2014.
“I want to do the best job I can while I’m with Chip and if I continue to be with Chip,” said Larson. “He took me from nobody — nobody ever heard of me or even when they started to hear about me wouldn’t give me a shot. So, I’m very loyal and thankful for that. Who knows? I would love to be with Chip for the rest of my career if I could.”
Larson also said he enjoys what he’s doing with Ganassi right now in the No. 42 Chevrolet. A sixth-place finish in the ’19 standings was a career best for Larson, and he made the Round of 8 in the playoffs.
When Larson does start seriously considering his future, something that will be kept in mind will be his extra-curricular activities. Larson still goes off and runs dirt races, which other team owners aren’t always keen on their drivers doing. Although, Ganassi does have a rule that Larson cannot be in a sprint or midget car the day before he competes in a Cup Series race.
Larson said wherever he ends up in ’21 and beyond, it should be known that racing as much as he can away from NASCAR will be a “priority.” However, he believes that owners understand that’s what he loves to do.
“I think Chip definitely continuing to let me run (dirt races), and then also letting me run more than I have the last few years, has been awesome,” said Larson. “Obviously, I’m a free agent, I guess, at the end of the year, so I guess I’m excited for that just to hear what people have to say. But if I do end up with Chip, I’ll be perfectly happy with that. He gave me my first shot, I’ve got a great relationship with him and the team, but more than anything I just look forward to racing race cars.
“I haven’t really thought too much about it. I’ve been reading everything and it’s cool to see your name in the mix for stuff like that. But we’ll also have to focus on the on-track performance here next year.”