Make no mistake: Kyle Larson loves NASCAR racing

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 04: Kyle Larson drives during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Burnouts on Broadway on December 04, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Fresh from a dominant performance in USAC Midget Racing, having swept three main events in California, Kyle Larson scoffed at the notion that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing isn’t just as much fun to him.

“If it was work, I wouldn’t do it,” Larson said. “I tell people all the time, yeah, the money’s great, but if I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t be doing this. I would have gotten out of this a long time ago. I enjoy the travel. I enjoy the race cars. I enjoy the rules changes.

“I enjoy the competition—just the lifestyle. I enjoy everything about NASCAR. People probably think, because I go back and race dirt cars, that I do it because I don’t love NASCAR, and I need to get away and do something fun, but I have fun every single weekend.”

Clearly at the top of the game on dirt, Larson hasn’t won in stock cars with the same frequency he has achieved in open-wheel cars.

But there’s a good reason for that—more variables.

“I think it’s just more situational in NASCAR,” Larson said. “There are a lot of other factors that lead into how you finish. In dirt, when you’re out there, you’re not worried about a pit stop or a double-file restart or a 500-lap race. It’s just 30 laps, and there’s a lot less stuff that can happen to affect your race, because it is so much shorter.

“You can control your own destiny a little bit better… I feel like I’ve got everything it takes to win in the Cup series. We did it in 2017. Our race cars were really good then. Our pit crew was on it. So it’s just more situational, I guess.”

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