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As the son of the literal ‘Most Popular Driver’ in NASCAR, Bill Elliott – who’s won the award a record 16 times – it was almost destined that Chase Elliott would follow in his footsteps. And the 28-year-old has lived up to his expectations, so much so that even after his worst season in NASCAR – where he missed 7 races and didn’t even make the playoffs – he still voted the ‘Most Popular Driver’ last year. That made it six years in a row. But is there a new golden boy in town? Well, it sure seems like it.

In a recent interview, Alexander Rossi compared two of the top drivers in motorsports right now – Max Verstappen and Kyle Larson. Since the 2022 F1 season, no one has really been able to match Verstappen, let alone beat him. But Rossi, who’s raced with both him and Larson, believes the Hendrick Motorsports driver could give the three-time world champion a run for his money. Now that he’s teammates with Larson for the Indianapolis 500 debut, Rossi firmly believes “he’s already towards the top, so I don’t know. Put him at the top. Like, he’s ‘The Man.’”

If what NASCAR did last weekend isn’t proof of that, then what is? While races have often been delayed due to weather conditions, the All-Star NASCAR race held off for 15 minutes just for Kyle Larson. He was flying in straight after qualifying fifth for the Indianapolis 500, and although he made it back well in time for the green flag, NASCAR still provided that buffer. With all that special treatment, it’s no wonder Kevin Harvick thinks Kyle Larson could be the best thing happening in NASCAR right now.


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Having launched High Limit Racing last year, Kyle Larson has been actively managing that series. Discussing that on Kevin Harvick’s Happy HourHarvick said, “I honestly think that we have a battle on our hands for the most popular driver. It’s coming! It may not be 100% this year, but people are slowly realizing [what Kyle Larson is like].” This year, he’s juggling multiple racing commitments, commonly called pulling double duty. That’s what he did last weekend before the All-Star race, and if the reception he got is anything to go by, Chase Elliott might really be at risk.

Larson may not be as flashy as other drivers, but that’s what makes him the personality he is. Harvick alluded to this, saying, Kyle Larson is never going to be that flashy, over-the-top guy. That’s just not him. He is the type of guy that’s going to wow you with what he does in the race car and the things that he does just like he did this week.Being voted the most popular driver isn’t just based on a driver’s personality. It’s also about their aura and presence on track. And right now, few love racing as much as Kyle Larson does. And because he loves racing as much as he does, he performs well, too!

The 31-year-old won one of NASCAR’s crown jewels in 2021: the Coca-Cola 600, one of the 10 races he won en route to the championship. Additionally, his two-year Indy 500 deal is a joint effort between Arrow McLaren Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, his NASCAR team, with Jeff Gordon among the Hendrick executives who watched him qualify at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Given how versatile his driving skills are, Harvick believes Larson has a good chance to win the Indy 500 on his debut this Sunday. And he’s not the only one.

Alex Bowman recently discussed his HMS teammates and compared himself to them. While he called himself “the village idiot,” Bowman said, “We have Kyle Larson: the greatest race car driver of our generation. Wins in everything he literally sits in and could win the Indy 500.” Who knows? Maybe he could win one race in the motorsports Triple Crown, fly to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600, and win one of NASCAR’s crown jewels, all on the same day. It’ll be quite similar to what Max Verstappen did last weekend when F1 raced in Imola.

Participating in iRacing’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring and the Imola GP, the Red Bull driver qualified on pole for the F1 race, put in a virtual stint at Nurburgring, got up on Sunday, put in another stint, and then won the Imola GP. That said, Verstappen may not be the most liked driver in F1, but Kyle Larson is surely growing his fanbase in every series he races. And that’s only part of why his popularity is skyrocketing.


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It’s also partly due to some spot-on marketing efforts for him. Larson’s diving into merchandise the way they do with sprint cars and late models on dirt tracks, hauling his little merchandise trailer to some of the Cup races. But beyond that, it’s his love for racing that everyone loves. Even when he returned to North Wilkesboro, he aimed to win the race. The entire NASCAR fanbase lauded Kyle Larson’s Indianapolis run after the Hendrick Motorsports driver executed a satisfactory qualifying result despite succumbing to engine problems in his Arrow McLaren Chevrolet IndyCar.

Kyle Larson was optimistic about his chances at North Wilkesboro

After qualifying fifth for the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day, Larson made it to North Wilkesboro about 30 minutes before the driver introductions for the main event. Since he hadn’t driven his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during practice or qualifying that weekend, Kevin Harvick stepped in for him, which led to Larson starting the 200-lap event from the back of the pack.


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But despite a long and tiring day, Larson was quickly on the heels of the leader, Joey Logano. Although his car started to tighten up after a while, Larson remained hopeful. Ultimately, he finished just outside the podium places in P4. Given his rigorous weekend, it was a remarkable result, one he felt could’ve ended with a win. In his post-race interview, he said, I thought we were in a great position to win. I thought for sure we would win but just didn’t work out. We’ll do our homework and try to get our car better for next year.” 

Well, for now, Larson is gearing up for the main event at the Indy 500. Just imagine if he wins there, hits the NASCAR track to be welcomed with a standing ovation, and wins the Coca-Cola 600, too! Wouldn’t that be something?