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Touted NASCAR prospect Kyle Larson gets Nationwide ride

February 06, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Kyle Larson speaks during the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards on Dec. 8.
Kyle Larson speaks during the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series… (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

Kyle Larson, a highly touted 20-year-old driver from Elk Grove, Calif., will drive full time this season in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series, his team announced Wednesday.

Veteran team owner Chip Ganassi is overseeing Larson's fledgling NASCAR career, and Ganassi helped Larson reach a deal to drive the No. 32 Chevrolet for the Nationwide team of Turner Scott Motorsports.

"Kyle's shown an uncanny ability to really drive anything that's been put under him so far," Ganassi told reporters on a conference call. "I think he'll be just fine in [the] Nationwide [series]."

Larson so far mainly has driven a variety of midget cars, sprints and other "open-wheel" cars with considerable success, drawing plaudits from such racing stars as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

Then last year, Larson drove stock cars for the first time and promptly won the championship in NASCAR's lower-level K&N Pro Series East.

That also was the first title for a driver in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, of which Larson, a Japanese American, was a member.

Larson also drove four races in NASCAR's truck series last year, finishing in the top 10 in three of those events.

Moving up to the Nationwide series "is truly one of the happiest days of my life," Larson said, adding that he hoped to "win at least a race or two" this year. The Nationwide season opens Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway.


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