Kyle Larson Humbly Trashes G.O.A.T. Debate Despite Unrivalled Racing Achievements

Published 02/12/2024, 12:24 AM EST

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Kyle Larson is already a NASCAR great. Having won the 2021 Cup Series championship in one of the most dominant seasons in the sport’s modern era, the Hendrick Motorsports star didn’t stop at that. Year after year, he continued to win races across different racing circuits. However, is that enough for the No. 5 Chevrolet driver to enter the G.O.A.T. debate? Answering Google queries related to him, Larson claims that he isn’t there just yet.

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Like 3-time Cup champ Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson has fulfilled his racing needs by competing in different tournaments. He even owns High Limit Racing, the direct rival of the World of Outlaws. While Tony was known for his versatility and even won the Indy Car championship in 1996, Kyle Larson will run at the Indy 500 this year in hopes of completing the double with the Coca-Cola 600. While his achievements present him as one of the best modern-day drivers in NASCAR, Larson knows he’s got more to do.

Kyle Larson claims his career has that G.O.A.T. potential

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Hendrick Motorsports has been organizing social media initiatives to bridge the gap between its race-focused drivers and the fans. Participating in the trend where drivers unveil the top questions about themselves on Google, Larson tried to answer the last question: Is Kyle Larson the G.O.A.T.? Responding with a humble smile on his face, Larson said, “No, Kyle Larson is not the GOAT yet.”

“Hopefully, someday, I can be. I guess, at least someday, I hope I can say I’m the G.O.A.T. But right now, I can’t say that—not even close. I’ve got to win a lot more races, a lot more championships, and all different types of race cars before I think I can be the G.O.A.T. I think the potential is there, but it’s hard. There are a lot of better race car drivers that came before me and after me. I’m pretty satisfied with where I am right now.”

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Kyle Larson came close to winning his second championship last year. After being a dominant force in the playoffs with two wins at Darlington and Las Vegas, the 31-year-old entered the final four races as a favorite. While he was the only eligible driver with winning experience in the finale, eventual champion Ryan Blaney managed to edge past him.

The narrow loss has yet to deter him from his goals. Kyle Larson is focused on extracurricular ventures like the Indy 500 and sprint car racing. He claimed his maiden win at the Vado Speedway earlier this year and even returned to his roots at the Chili Bowl. His showing at last week’s Clash at the Coliseum saw him fight for the lead at times, implying he is ready for 2024. With the Daytona 500 up next, can Larson claim his maiden Great American Race victory?

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Larson is one of the strongest drivers entering the Daytona 500, regardless of poor record

Racing at the Daytona International Speedway is all about surviving the horrors. The long straights provide a chance for drag racing action and close-quarter struggles between cars. While that is challenging, that is also the reason for Larson’s poor statistics at Daytona. Kyle Larson has often suffered wrecks at the hands of other drivers, which is also the case at Daytona.

For context, Daytona is one of Larson’s worst tracks, with an average finish of 22.6. Considering Kyle Larson’s prowess and expertise in the #5 Chevrolet, the numbers are surprising. Let alone a win; he hasn’t finished in the top-5 once in his 19 starts at the venue. Knowing the statistics, Larson will surely hope for a turnaround.

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However, as Daytona has proved time and time again, every driver has a decent chance of winning. More importantly, Larson will also face a significant challenge from his teammates, William Byron and Chase Elliott. A win at the Daytona 500 is also one of the big steps to solidifying his position in the G.O.A.T. debate.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Even before he made his way into the world of motorsports, he had already made a name for himself in the sports journalism field by working as a writer for a few media houses. Now, having covered multiple Cup races live, he has often been the first to report on-track incidents and also provide his readers with an in-depth analysis of the same.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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