Kyle Larson ‘grateful’ for career opportunity after joining NASCAR series

Larson (right) and Edens were promoted to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series after Dale Earnhardt Jr announced his retirement. Kyle Larson says he’s “grateful” to have an opportunity to race for his career…

Kyle Larson 'grateful' for career opportunity after joining NASCAR series

Larson (right) and Edens were promoted to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series after Dale Earnhardt Jr announced his retirement.

Kyle Larson says he’s “grateful” to have an opportunity to race for his career after joining the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series.

The 26-year-old Larson of Elk Grove, California, is one of 20 rookies in NASCAR’s top series this season.

He was promoted to the series after Dale Earnhardt Jr announced his retirement.

“I’m grateful to race for this team. Every week I step on the starting line I’m thankful to be here,” Larson said after making his 2017 NASCAR debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Chicago last weekend.

“To be part of this organization and to race for them is something I never in a million years thought would happen.”

Championship points leader Kevin Harvick, one of his best friends, is ranked second in the standings behind Kyle Busch.

Larson and Larson Motorsports teammates Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr will be in the field for the final Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Blaney’s team owner and father, Bob, was part of the original group that purchased Larson’s sponsor, Chip Ganassi Racing, and has built the team in the image of the legendary Ganassi racing operation.

“I didn’t know they were buying the team – I only found out later – and I’m glad they are. It’s perfect, everybody should be happy,” said Bob Blaney.

Larson is in his second full season in NASCAR’s top series after winning four races in 2016 and finishing in the top 10 12 times.

“After seeing what Jimmy (Regan) did in his first year, I knew he was capable of being very good,” Larson said.

“He kept on improving as the year went on, so it was my plan to learn from him and build on the things I was good at and do everything else better.”

Despite having made it a plan, Larson thought he’d always be competing for a racing seat in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series.

With a new opportunity to pursue NASCAR, he’s determined to leave his mark on the sport.

“I am going to make the most of it. The opportunities have opened up so much, so I am going to do everything I can to go out there and show the people who brought me here that I deserve to be here,” Larson said.

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