“I See a Lot of Myself There” – Mario Andretti on Hendrick Star Kyle Larson

Published 09/11/2021, 3:38 AM EDT
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 18: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Advent Health Chevrolet, celebrates winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


In 2021, Kyle Larson has been enjoying a wonderful Cup Series campaign. His recent run of form has earned him many new fans, one of them being American racing legend, Mario Andretti. The latter is himself familiar with the challenges of competing in various racing disciplines and being successful in them.

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Commenting on Larson’s endeavors in multiple racing formats, he said, “That’s his life.

“That’s what he loves. I identify with that. That’s the reason I gravitated toward him in a sense of being particularly interested in what he’s doing. He’s not the only one that interests me, but he just captured me in a very special way because I see a lot of myself there.”

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The 81-year-old is the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Formula 1 championship.

According to him, Larson’s racing passion is one of the key elements to his success. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is one of the favorites to claim the 2021 Cup Series title. In addition to that, he has won the marquee Coca-Cola 600 and is seeking to add a Playoff win.

Further adding to Larson’s mystique are the multiple major dirt racing wins under his belt. Earlier this year, he won his second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals and followed it up with a Knoxville Nationals win.

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Why is this a big feat for Kyle Larson?

Truthfully speaking, nobody has won those events and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. Is also helps that Larson amassed 46 wins out of 97 dirt races in the 2020 season. Furthermore, Larson wants to be known as someone who is versatile enough to excel in different types of cars. Andretti wholeheartedly supported his quest, especially when the goal is to win.

Mar 21, 2021; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) leads down the front stretch at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, Larson’s prowess has led to comparisons with Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Tony Stewart. Apparently, he grew up seeking to be a full-time driver in the World of Outlaws sprint car series. Even when a NASCAR career beckoned, he never closed the door on a dirt track career. For now, the driver is focusing on his Cup Series campaign and the Playoff fight.

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Dhruv George

12000 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst 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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