Kyle Larson's rise a timely boon for Chevrolet

Kyle Larson’s breakout season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is paying big dividends for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Kyle Larson's rise a timely boon for Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet takes the checkered flag, win
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Race winner Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

But there is another very prominent beneficiary – Chevrolet.

Larson’s success, and the overall improved performance of the Ganassi organization in general, could not come at a better time for Chevy, particularly after the manufacturer saw one of its powerhouse teams, Stewart-Haas Racing, move to the Ford Performance camp in the offseason.

Three of SHR’s four drivers last season – Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart – won six races total and advanced to the NASCAR playoffs. That was a big performance hole to fill.

Through the season’s first 15 races, Larson and his teammate, Jamie McMurray, have shown great progress over last season, which in turn has helped lift Chevy’s fortunes.

Larson has already won twice this season (tied for second-most of any driver) and leads the series standings following his win last Sunday at Michigan. McMurray has yet to win but is seventh in the standings and in excellent position to make the playoffs as well.

Larson’s win Sunday allowed Chevrolet to claim the Michigan Heritage Trophy – awarded to the winning manufacturer following each Cup race at Michigan.

Alba Colon, Chevrolet's Cup series program manager, said it was “very important” to have the Ganassi organization’s performance take another step up this season.

“Stewart‑Haas, they were one of our key teams. It was sad to see them go. We are very honest about that,” Colon said. “The dynamic changed a lot when Stewart‑Haas left. 

“All the teams got together and realized, ‘You know what? The game has changed. We have to work different, we have to work more together, we have to do things different.’ To see how Chip Ganassi Racing has a stepped up in the game has been fantastic.”

It was a slow start to the season for Chevy, as Ford drivers – including recent addition Kurt Busch – won the first two races of the season. Toyota’s Martin Truex Jr. dominated on his way to victory in the third race at Las Vegas.

Chevy got its first win with Ryan Newman at Phoenix but Larson was never very far from Victory Lane. He finished 12th at the season opener at Daytona but then posted three consecutive runner-up finishes before winning himself at Auto Club Speedway.

“Kyle has done an amazing job, not only him, but when you see also how Chase Elliott did (Sunday), how close was that win. It’s amazing to see how our young talent is coming up,” Colon said.

We are proud of all of them. We are concentrating on bringing the young talent up in their careers, but also to represent Chevrolet.

Alba Colon

Right now, Larson stands head-and-shoulders above the rest in that young talent pool.

With the recent retirements of Chevy drivers Stewart and Jeff Gordon – and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the end of this season – Larson’s ascendance is helping to refill some of the manufacturer’s lost star power.

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