Kyle Larson success this season

“Mentally stronger” Kyle Larson credits last year absence from NASCAR for his success this season

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After last year absence from NASCAR for most of the season, Kyle Larson returned to the Cup Series only to dominate it.

Due to the use of a racial slur in an iRacing event, Larson was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended by NASCAR in April last year. With no Cup racing to do, Larson spent most of his time competing in dirt tracks.

Not only he participated in many dirt races but he dominated them more often than not. Due to his experience beside NASCAR, Larson has returned to the Cup Series as a much stronger not just on the pitch but mentally as well.

“I feel like I’m a much more mature person on and off the race track. I think through all the experience of growing up made me ultimately just better all around,” Larson said.

“I think getting to race as much as I did last year and contend – I raced 96 times, something like that, and won 46. Probably was in position to chase a win in 80 races or more.

“I think putting yourself in position like that, it made me a much mentally stronger driver these days, much more experienced driver. Yeah, it’s definitely been a crazy couple years, but very thankful that I’m in the opportunity I’m in now.”

Larson won five races in the 2021 Cup Series regular-season and will head to the playoffs as the regular-season champion. He also had the best record for laps led (1,566), top-five (14) and top-10 finishes (18).

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The good thing about Larson is that he has shown the capability to win in any kind of track this season. He has won on intermediate tracks, road courses and at new venues. As NASCAR heads to the playoffs, the Hendrick Motorsports driver will be more hungry for wins.

“I think we’re still capable of winning more races throughout the rest of the year and continuing to get better. I think all the race teams get better each and every week,” Larson said. “We’re one of those teams that’s done that, too.

“It’s hard to predict. It’s been fun. We’ve been able to win a lot of races. Even when we weren’t winning, we were still up front. That’s what you’ve got to do here in these next 10 weeks.

“Still got to go out there and chase as many points as you can throughout the race. Obviously, you want to win the races. If you can’t, you don’t want to leave any points out on the table.

“That’s kind of where my head’s at right now.”

This season will safely be his best chance of winning the Cup Series until now.

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