What Makes Kyle Larson the Biggest Regret of Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Career

Published 12/22/2021, 11:49 AM EST
LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 29: Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, in the garage during NASCAR testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway January 29, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)


In 2021, Kyle Larson was the breakout star and capped off a dream season with his maiden Cup Series championship. His is truly a comeback story, from the lows of getting dropped midway through 2020, to the highs of the 2021 title. Along the way, he bagged 10 victories in the season for Hendrick Motorsports.

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However, it could have been a completely different story once upon a time. There were talks that Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing were interested in acquiring his services. Tony’s interest was piqued due to Larson’s prowess on the dirt arena, something that Stewart is also familiar with.

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Following his Chip Ganassi Racing exit and subsequent NASCAR suspension, Larson elected to hone his craft. To do that, he turned to the dirt tracks and built a name for himself until the sport gave him a second chance. When NASCAR remained on tenterhooks to re-hire him, Tony Stewart was leaning towards redemption.

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Tony Stewart rued not taking a chance on Kyle Larson

Talking about the missed opportunity with Kyle, who Tony considers to be a ‘unicorn’, he said, “I said (damn it) the day that I found out I couldn’t get him. I said it that day, probably in words that I can’t use right now, but I said that a lot that day and have said it every day since then. That will be one of the biggest regrets of my professional career is not getting that kid and having an opportunity to race him in our cars. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime driver.”

Sep 26, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In all honesty, the SHR team needed him, especially with Clint Bowyer hanging up his boots. Furthermore, Aric Almirola had not committed to the #10 car, which came much later, but that’s another story. Owing to this, Stewart was more than willing to take him in. Unfortunately, there was a huge stumbling block called Ford, who shot the idea down.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Tried For the Last 4 Years”- Tony Stewart Reveals Why He Could Not Bring Kyle Larson to Stewart-Haas Racing

about 1 year ago

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Dhruv George

12531 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author 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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