Get used to seeing Kyle Larson in Victory Lane in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
So says Kevin Harvick, who boldly stated on his new Tuesday evening show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Larson is the best driver to come along in NASCAR since Jeff Gordon.
It is indeed a bold statement.
Gordon, now a FOX Sports NASCAR analyst, won four Premier Series championships and a total of 93 races that ranks third all-time behind only Hall of Famers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He’s supposedly officially retired as a Cup driver now after stepping in as an emergency substitute last year for Dale Earnhardt Jr. while Earnhardt recovered from a concussion.
Larson, 24, just won his second Cup race last Sunday when he went to Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway, prompting Harvick’s high praise on the Tuesday premiere of “Happy Hour,” Harvick’s new show that is co-hosted by FOX Sports pit reporter Matt Yocum.
“Kyle Larson is the best driver to come into this sport since Jeff Gordon, in my opinion. I think Kyle Larson is that good,” Harvick said. “And he’s just a kid that not enough people know about – but he has won and wins in everything he’s ever driven. He’s just a racer.”
All true, no doubt.
And Harvick was just getting warmed up. He noted that Larson is a father whose son, Owen, and long-time girlfriend Katelynn Sweet, Owen’s mother, have helped give Larson a maturity level that sometimes other young racers lack.
“He’s just one of those guys who loves to race, but he’s kind of got his stuff together more because he’s got to have everything in line,” Harvick said. “I think kids, wives, girlfriends help keep some of us (grounded). He’s laser-focused on what he does as a race-car driver, and I think he’s the best talent to come through this sport in a long, long time.”
Taking note of all that – and as the 2014 NASCAR Premier Series champion himself, Harvick obviously knows what he is talking about – it’s also interesting to point out that at Larson’s age, Gordon already had won his first Premier Series title, was on the verge of winning his second, and had already won a total of 26 races, all of which he accomplished before turning 25 in August of 1997. His 26th career win, in fact, came at Fontana in June of that year.
So Larson, driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and the current Cup Series points leader, obviously still has lots of work to do. But Harvick stands by his bold statement.
“He’s that good. I hope Ganassi has a good contract with him – because every team in the garage wants a Kyle Larson,” Harvick said. “He’s a guy you can put in your race cars and win races. Even on a day when your race car is not that good, he’s going to make you look good.”
To hear Harvick’s entire SiriusXM NASCAR Radio rant on Larson, click here. To catch the show in its entirety, take note that it will replay Thursday at 10 p.m. ET, Friday at midnight ET and Saturday at 9 p.m. ET, and also is available on SiriusXM On Demand.