Kyle Larson Reveals How Jimmie Johnson Inspires Him to Be a True NASCAR Champion

Published 12/15/2021, 9:24 PM EST
RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 29: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)


Recently, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson appeared on CBS Mornings. The Asian-American driver spoke about his championship-winning season and how it was a comeback season, especially considering all the drama and backlash he faced in 2020 that saw him get sacked from his team.

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The #5 Hendrick Motorsports driver talked about who his biggest inspiration was to win the title. He said, “I looked up to drivers like Jimmie Johnson. So just doing good things in the community, good things off the race track. I think that’s what makes a true champion.”

Larson was in sublime form all year, and the statistics showed it. The Hendrick superstar notched up an astounding 10 wins and additionally finished in the Top 3 eight times. Coincidentally, newly crowned F1 champion Max Verstappen achieved the same statistic, but that’s another story.

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Kyle Larson will be looking forward to defending his crown

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Of course, now comes the toughest job; defending his championship. Retaining a title is considered a lot harder because the champion has a veritable target painted on his back and his rivals will try to come back stronger. So, they really have to step up their game to prove that their title win was not the result of being a one-season wonder.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – AUGUST 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 15, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

One thing he does have going for him is that Hendrick Motorsports is one of the best teams in the business, and will do anything for their driver to defend his title. However, teams like Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and Stewart-Haas Racing are no slouches. Additionally, there is also the possibility of intra-team rivalries between teammates; Chase Elliott, the 2020 champion, is the obvious threat.

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In short, Kyle Larson will have his hands full if he ever wants to bag a second Cup Series title. Let’s see how the 2022 season plays out.

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Dhruv George

12535 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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