World News – CA – Hendrick Hires Banned Kyle Larson To Drive No.5 Flagship


The Associated Press

Kyle Larson gets ready to get into his car to practice for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Friday February 14, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo / Terry Renna)

Kyle Larson will return to NASCAR next season driving the flagship No 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports

Larson signed a multi-year contract with Hendrick on Wednesday that ended his seven-month ban from NASCAR for using a racial slur during an online racing game last spring He had been considered the best waiting free agent in the sport but was quickly fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and lost all of his sponsors.

Since using the n-word on April 12, Larson has completed NASCAR sensitivity training, hired inclusion training coach, volunteered for the Tony Sanneh Foundation, visited Jackie Joyner-Kersee and its St Louis Community Center, and site of the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which followed a fatal shootout by police on a black man

Larson has volunteered at food banks, traveled with Sanneh to the George Floyd Memorial site in Minneapolis, spent a lot of time at the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia, and made many other visits to learn about the racial justice issues and talk about their own experiences

Larson, who is half Japanese, also continued to run under the radar: he won 42 sprint races in 2020 while suspended from NASCAR

« Kyle is hands down one of the most talented race car drivers in the world, » said team owner Rick Hendrick in a statement. « He has championship-level capabilities and will be an important addition to our on-track program. More importantly, I have no doubts that he understands our expectations and will be a great ambassador for our team, our partners and NASCAR »

Hendrick said he had had « many, many conversations » with Larson and that he was « confident about what was in his heart and his desire to be a champion in all aspects of his life and of her career Kyle has done an important job over the past six months, and Hendrick Motorsports will support these ongoing efforts. »

Hendrick was to bid for Larson when his contract expired with Ganassi, who also wanted to keep the driver he had groomed of sprint cars at the top of the NASCAR Cup.

Instead, the 28-year-old’s future in NASCAR has been jeopardized by his use of insult at an iRacing event at the end of Easter Sunday. He was finally reinstated by NASCAR last week

“Mr. Hendrick is one of the people who reached out to me over the past six months,” Larson said in a statement. “Our initial conversations weren’t about racing He cares about me as a person and wants to see me succeed beyond driving I can’t say how grateful I am for the commitment, the faith and the trust him and everyone else at Hendrick Motorsports « 

Larson will team up with crew chief Cliff Daniels, who has spent the past two years working with seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick would return the No 5 – the first car campaigned when Hendrick Motorsports launched in 1984 – and stopped using the No 88 acquired for Dale Earnhardt Jr In 2008 Geoff Bodine drove the No 5 to three wins in the 1984 season which was almost Hendrick’s first and last in NASCAR

The No. 5 made Hendrick’s record with 1,129 Cup Series starts and Larson will be the car’s 10th driver but first since Kasey Kahne in 2017 Hall of Famer Terry Labonte won 12 races and the 1996 Cup title in the No 5

“The ‘5’ is special to me It’s the original,” said Hendrick “I consider them to be the flagship team of Hendrick Motorsports in many ways Bringing the car back to the circuit is meaningful to my family and to many of our team members and fans « 

Larson will be part of a Hendrick lineup that includes Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman The roster’s average age will be 26 when next season opens

The four drivers put together have already won 18 Cup Series races and 14 playoff places

« I am excited about our roster of young talent, » said Hendrick. « We have a team designed to win races and compete for championships for years to come »

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Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Cup Series, Rick Hendrick, Chip Ganassi Racing

World News – CA – Hendrick hires Kyle Larson banned to drive flagship No 5



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