Kyle Larson Recounts His First Ever Win Defeating ‘Kid to Beat’ Matt DiBenedetto During Early Years

Published 12/18/2020, 11:51 AM EST
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 07: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald’s Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Kyle Larson is been one of the exceptional talents coming through the ranks of NASCAR. He has quite a lot of other racing achievements and wins under his belt, and has won a few races in the Cup Series as well.

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But when exactly did Larson secure his first race victory? The 28-year-old spoke about that story as a young kid and how beating fellow Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto was a big deal for him back then.

Speaking in an interview, Larson stated, “So yeah, it was like June 10th, I don’t know ’99 or something like that. So Matt DiBenedetto was actually the kid to beat when I was racing and cycling, you know, pretty baby blue 44.”

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Matt DiBenedetto was winning everything, says Kyle Larson

“Really nice stuff and they’re really fast and he was the guy to beat. We just got a new car you know a few weeks before and yeah I somehow won, I don’t remember if he finished second or where he finished,” Larson added.

Both Larson and DiBenedetto are now racing in the premier stock car racing division, on a much more professional level. But, the former has revealed that it was no less than an achievement beating DiBenedetto to win his first-ever race.

Hendrick Motorsports’ No.5 continued, “But I remember it was just a cool accomplishment, winning your first race. But really cool knowing that you beat Matt DiBenedetto because he was winning everything at the time. And you know I was probably lapped traffic before we got the new car.”

“So yeah, I remember June 10th. And I always get excited for the races that come around June 10th,” concluded Larson in response to the question.

Larson will feature for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2021 season

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Following his reinstatement by NASCAR from a suspension earlier this season, Larson joins a four-drivers army at Hendrick Motorsports. Driving the No.5 car, he will partner NASCAR Cup Series champ Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and William Byron at the team.

LONG POND, PA – JUNE 04: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cessna/NTT Data Group Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Prior to 2020, Larson consistently finished in the top-10 of the drivers’ standings with Chip Ganassi Racing.

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As he makes his comeback into the division, he would expect to be a frontrunner for better results in renewed machinery.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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