Image courtesy Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix SabatesEnlarge Photo
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is looking to its future, signing Elk Grove, California native Kyle Larson as its development driver.
Larson, 19, gathered plenty of attention last season when he captured 22 major professional feature wins, including victories in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series (WoO), in all three United States Auto Club (USAC) National divisions (Sprint, Midget, Silver Crown) and in the American Sprint Car Series (ACSC).
He started driving go-karts when he was four and actually he went to his first race when Larson was only a week old! Larson entered his first competitive kart race as the age of 7 and stated, "I've been around it my whole life."
Larson's sweep of the 4-Crown Nationals at Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway last fall, where he won in Midgets, Sprint Cars and in the Silver Crown car in the same night, gave the young driver some international notoriety.
Due to his outstanding performance throughout the 2011 racing season, Larson was nominated for the 2011 SPEED TV Performer of the Year, vying against formidable competitors like NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart, Formula One titleholder Sebastian Vettel, MotoGP star Casey Stoner, Supercross/Motocross stellar rider Ryan Vilopoto and his new Ganassi teammates, IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series titleholder Scott Pruett.
In addition to his role as an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates development driver, Kyle Larson--whose ancestry is Japanese American--is going to participate in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program in 2012, competing for Rev Racing in the NASCAR East Series. Fans are encouraged to follow his pursuits by following Kyle and his team on Twitter at @EGRTeams and @KyleLarsonRacin and on Facebook at Kyle Larson Racing.
Some of Kyle Larson's racing highlights over the last two seasons, and into this year include:
· Won 2012 Pete Orr Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway in his first race in a Super Late Model Stock Car on asphalt
· In 2011, competed in over 90 races, and won in six different types of race cars--Midget, Pavement Midget, Wing Sprint, Non Wing Sprint, 360 Wing Sprint and Silver Crown
· 22 total A-main victories in 2011
· In 2011, became the first driver to win a WoO race and score victories in all three USAC division in the same season
· 2011 Belleville Midget Nationals Winner
· 2011 WoO Sprint Car Series Gold Cup Winner
· Finished third in the 2012 Chili Bowl among 260 entrants
· Earned four USAC National Midget Victories in 2011
· Won two USAC National Sprint Car events in 2011
· Earned two USAC Silver Crown Victories in 2011
· 2010 Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Champion
· 2010 Tulsa Shootout Winner
Larson is hoping to follow a similar path from open wheel to NASCAR as such drivers as Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. "We're comfortable running sideways, so when the car gets out of shape, we're really not uncomfortable," he told The Associated Press.