Could Kyle Larson Be The New Driver To Replace Juan Pablo Montoya?
Kyle Larson may be one of the few rookies in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season, but he may be preparing to take a step further in his career next season.
On Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported that Larson will be making the move into the No.42 Cup car for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, and that the official announcement will be made during the race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Following the news of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Juan Pablo Montoya parting ways after the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Larson became the first name linked to become Montoya’s replacement. Larson’s name was connected to the no. 42 car as he is EGR’s developmental driver.
Currently, Larson is still competing in the Nationwide Series with Turner Scott Motorsports and sits in eighth in the point standings. He has yet to capture a win, but has finish second on two occasions.
Larson has also raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, with his first win there being at Rockingham in 2013. He is also the 2012 NASCAR K&N East Series champion.
Throughout his racing career, Larson has been able to accomplish several feats not only in NASCAR, but also throughout USAC midget, Sprint Cars, Silver Crown and the World of Outlaws. He’s proven that he can drive anything with wheels whether on pavement or dirt, but he might be moved up way too soon.
Although he is a proven competitor, moving into the Cup Series may not be the best idea at this time as he has much more to accomplish in Nationwide. Larson is still trying to capture his first win there and is still trying to make up for the slow start of the season. There are several opportunities for him to continue to be a great racer if he continues to mature in the Nationwide Series.
If Larson makes the move into Cup, he may suffer the same consequences other drivers have faced from moving up too soon. Drivers like Joey Logano were moved too soon after just one season in the Nationwide Series, and didn’t get into his best form in the Cup Series until his fourth year.
Current Cup Series rookie Danica Patrick has been struggling in her first full Cup season after not spending much time in the Nationwide Series. She did race two part-time seasons until her first full Nationwide season in 2012, but that wasn’t enough to help her have a better transition into the Cup.
Larson may be a great driver and was considered as a future star as a member of the NASCAR Next class, but it won’t necessarily mean that he will be the right driver to replace Montoya with.
If Montoya struggled for the past few seasons considering his impressive racing experience, how does that make Larson the better option? He needs to get more time in a stock car in the Nationwide Series first in order to get primed before making such a big move.