CONCORD, N.C. -- Kyle Larson’s return to Daytona International Speedway will mark the first time the 28-year-old driver will hit the track in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Larson placed 10th in the 2020 DAYTONA 500 and seventh during “The Great American Race” in 2019. He joked that he was caught up in accidents during both events but learned how to slip by and cross the finish line toward the front of the pack.
“I guess when you do get in the crashes, don’t hit anything too hard,” Larson said. “I think Hendrick Motorsports’ equipment on superspeedways is probably the best there is out there. They continue to get poles and qualify up front. That’s not what I’m used to at superspeedways, so I’m excited going to Daytona and Talladega and tracks like that and seeing how I can compare.”
Hendrick Motorsports has qualified for the DAYTONA 500 pole in five of the last six events and eight of the last 13. That fact isn’t lost on Larson, who admitted he hasn’t been strong at superspeedways in the past.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really qualified inside the top 20 on a superspeedway,” Larson said. “I know the car is going to be fast and it’s really going to be up to me to make the right decisions on the racetrack and execute on pit road and do all the little things right. If I do that, I think we’ll have a shot to win the biggest race of the season and get started off on the right foot as a new team.”
Now that Larson is with a new team, he is ready to prove his prowess on the track and work with his new teammates. He said joining Hendrick Motorsports right after Chase Elliott won the organization’s record-extending 13th title has fueled him further to earn as many victories as possible.
“Coming into the team that has just recently won the Cup Series championship, that’s what I strive to accomplish,” Larson said. “I know it can be done - Chase proved it - and it’s just up to us to go out there and try to do as good of a job as we can and do it.”
Larson will try to earn a premiere starting spot for the DAYTONA 500 during the qualifying session on Feb. 10 and during a Duel race on Feb 11. He will line up for “The Great American Race” on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The event will be broadcast live on FOX.