Kyle Larson Leads the Race to Replace Jimmie Johnson in the Iconic No. 48 Car

September 15, 2020 3:30 pm

It is no mystery that whoever replaces Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 car at Hendrick Motorsports has big shoes to fill. Now, the speculation around the replacement for the 7-time Champion has just gathered more pace.

In a surprising yet exciting move, Kyle Larson has emerged as the front-runner to take up the spot at Hendrick Motorsports.

According to leading NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass, Larson is the favorite to replace Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 car, as per industry leaders. While Larson has still not officially asked for reinstatement, there is a great chance that he ends up with an even better deal on his return from suspension.

NASCAR suspended Larson back in April for using a racial slur while competing in an online race. Chip Ganassi Racing then fired him from the No. 42 team. Last month, Larson spoke to NASCAR officials about the terms and procedures of reinstatement.

What works in favor of Kyle Larson

Larson, considered to be a future champion in NASCAR until his suspension, is having an amazing run in the sprint car racing. He notched up many wins recently and is high on confidence. While he is enjoying his stint there, Larson admitted that a NASCAR return is his top priority.

A major hurdle for any team to sign Larson will be to convince sponsors and their manufacturers to bring on board a formerly suspended driver.

However, Pockrass believes that Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is influential enough to convince Chevrolet to not veto Larson’s onboarding process.

Sep 12, 2020; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports | Credit: Reuters

Interest from Tony Stewart

The events of the last couple of months strongly indicated Stewart-Haas Racing as the front-runners to sign Larson. This was because of NASCAR legend and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart’s strong support for Larson’s comeback.

However, Pockrass also said that SHR might keep Clint Bowyer or promote Chase Briscoe to the Cup Series.

Kyle Larson was also recently tied with Richard Petty Motorsports to replace Bubba Wallace. This was after co-owner Andrew Murstein said he is considering the option.


However, with a potential Hendrick deal looking strong, Larson driving Jimmie Johnson’s iconic No. 48 will certainly become the talk of the town. Hendrick Motorsports also expressed that they will continue with the four-driver line-up.

Larson would be part of a line-up including the likes of William Byron, Alex Bowman, and Chase Elliott.

ALSO READ- Tony Stewart Wants NASCAR to ‘Get off’ And Bring Back Kyle Larson

Aayush Majumdar

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily. He is an avid tennis and NASCAR follower even when he is not writing about these sports, and looks up to the likes of Rafael Nadal and Jimmie Johnson.

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