Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Wednesday that Kyle Larson will drive one of its cars in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning next season.
It is a multiyear deal for Larson, who will drive the team’s No. 5 Chevrolet. It will be the first time since 2017 that Hendrick has fielded that number. Team owner Rick Hendrick began his team with the No. 5 in 1984.
Larson will be paired with crew chief Cliff Daniels, who currently works with Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team.
“Kyle is unquestionably one of the most talented race car drivers in the world,” said Rick Hendrick. “He has championship-level ability and will be a significant addition to our on-track program. More importantly, I have full confidence that he understands our expectations and will be a tremendous ambassador for our team, our partners, and NASCAR.
“Kyle and I have had many, many conversations leading up to today’s announcement. I’m confident about what’s in his heart and his desire to be a champion in all aspects of his life and career. Kyle has done important work over the past six months, and Hendrick Motorsports is going to support those continued efforts.”
Larson was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR and fired by Chip Ganassi Racing in April after using a racial slur on iRacing. He was reinstated by NASCAR last week and is cleared to resume racing activities on January 1, 2021.
Sponsors for Larson were not announced.
“Hendrick Motorsports is a championship organization that has set a high bar for performance and for how its drivers represent the team and its partners,” Larson said. “My goal is to win races, be a great teammate, continue my personal efforts to grow, and hold myself to that high standard personally and professionally. Making the absolute most of this platform and the opportunity in front of me is my focus. I know what’s expected of me and what I expect of myself, on and off the track.
“Mr. Hendrick is one of the people who extended a hand to me over the past six months. Our initial conversations were not about racing. He cares about me as a person and wants to see me succeed beyond driving. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for the commitment, the faith, and the confidence from him and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.”
Larson has six wins in the Cup Series and won Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.
“Chevrolet supports NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports’ commitment to prioritize the values of diversity and inclusion across the sport and for all fans,” Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports, said in a statement following the team’s announcement. “We have a long and respected relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and have openly shared our position as a sponsor that we will continue to hold our racing partners and affiliate drivers accountable to behave in ways that adhere to these values, on and off the track. Kyle has taken positive steps focused on listening and learning and has expressed his commitment to be an agent of change for the positive when it comes to inclusivity and diversity in NASCAR.”