It was just a matter of time.
Kyle Larson has officially signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 car next year. The news basically confirms what everybody had already suspected, however now, the ink is dry and Larson is officially set to join Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and William Byron on the Hendrick team next year. He will also team up with crew chief Cliff Daniels, who is currently working with Jimmie Johnson.
Of course, Larson was fired from Chip Ganassi Racing and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR after using a racial slur on a live-streamed iRacing event six months ago. Kyle was required to undergo sensitivity training as a condition to coming back to racing, however NASCAR has made it clear that he have to continue to work towards diversity in the sport for the next few years. He’ll also be required to do several speaking engagements, take further training and engagement classes through 2023, and continue his work as a mentor with the Urban Youth Racing School and Rev Racing. His suspension technically lifts on January 1st 2021.
Larson released the following statement:
“Hendrick Motorsports is a championship organization that has set a high bar for performance and for how drivers represent the team and its partners. My goal is to win races, be a great teammate, continue my personal efforts to grow and hold myself to that high standard personally and professionally. Making the absolute most of this platform and the opportunity in front of me is my focus. I know what’s expected of me and what I expect of myself, on and off the track. Mr. Hendrick is one of the people who extended a hand to me over the past six months. Our initial conversations were not about racing. He cares about me as a person and wants to see me succeed beyond driving. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for the commitment, the faith and the confidence from him and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.”
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick also shared why they ultimately decided to bet on Kyle:
“Kyle is unquestionably one of the most talented race car drivers in the world. He has championship-level ability and will be a significant addition to our on-track program. More importantly, I have full confidence that he understands our expectations and will be a tremendous ambassador for our team, our partners and NASCAR. Kyle and I have had many, many conversations leading up to today’s announcement. I’m confident about what’s in his heart and his desire to be a champion in all aspects of his life and career. Kyle has done important work over the past six months and Hendrick Motorsports is going to support those continued efforts.”
Oh, and in other news, it looks like they’re finally underway in Texas after a 3-day rain delay.
You can also catch Kyle on Dale Earnhardt’s podcast today.