In 2021, a familiar face returns to the NASCAR fray, and his name is Kyle Larson. After some off-track drama sidelined him for the 2020 season, he will be back in action with the Hendrick Motorsports team. In light of that, former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr spoke about the 28-year old.
He said, “I feel like with Kyle Larson coming in, he needs a rebranding. He needs a fresh start. I also know that the #5 number is extremely sentimental to Rick Hendrick. It’s his first number in the Cup Series.”
It is worth noting that the #88 will make way for the #5. For a long time, the #88 was a mainstay, but now the team is bringing back the #5. Now, it will make up part of Larson’s identity for the duration of his Hendrick Motorsports career.
In spirit, Larson is effectively taking over the seat that Jimmie Johnson vacated. The NASCAR legend has effectively retired from the sport and will ply his trade in IndyCar. While Alex Bowman is taking over his iconic #48 number, Larson is the literal replacement.
Truthfully speaking, the California native is a hugely talented driver. The HMS team will have a massive boost with him in their stable. He completes an already talented line-up that consists of Bowman, William Byron, and reigning champion Chase Elliott. Obviously, Elliott will be leading the charge, and Byron, Bowman, and Larson will be there to back him up.
However, the other teams and drivers will be keen to stop them. The likes of Stewart-Haas, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi, and others will be eager to pounce. In addition to that, there are also new Cup Series teams who are going to challenge for wins, as they have set lofty goals for themselves.