“We believe Kyle is the future of the sport,” said team owner Chip Ganassi in making the announcement. “He is a unique talent… and he was our first choice. We spoke to other drivers, but we did not offer deals to any other drivers.
“This is a racing decision,” he said. “Kyle the best fit for the short term and long term. There are going to be growing pains, but we think he's ready. This kid is a special kid."
Despite spending most of his time in Open Wheel Spring Cars and Midgets, Larson’s stock car pedigree is also impressive. In 2012, he became only the third driver in series history to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship as a rookie. In 23 Nationwide Series starts this season, Larson is eighth in championship points with six Top-5 and 13 Top-10 finishes. In two starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he has a win at Rockingham and a second-place finish at Eldora.
While admitting that jumping to the Sprint Cup Series after less than 30 NASCAR starts will present challenges, the 21-year old Larson said he is not worried about the pressure. "As long as I'm living up to my expectations and Chip's expectations, that's all that really matters,” he said. “I’m not one to pay attention to hype or pressure that other people put on me. As long as I’m running Top-15 (next season), I’m happy with that, no matter what the fans or media (expect).”
In a related story, Ganassi said there may be a continuing role for outgoing Target Chevrolet driver Juan Pablo Montoya within the team. "We've enjoyed a lot of success with Juan Pablo,” said Ganassi. "He's a great friend of mine... and we are not counting him out of future opportunities"