Being in his first year with a new team at Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Larson didn’t enter the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season as a popular pick to win the championship. Expectations will be considerably higher in 2022, however, when Larson will be looking to become the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and 2010 to repeat as champion (Johnson actually won a record-breaking five consecutive championships, the first of them coming in 2006).
In 2022, Larson will once again be paired with the No. 5 team led by crew chief Cliff Daniels, and there’s no reason whatsoever to expect him to achieve any less of a result. In fact, with a whole season under their belts, the tandem of Larson and Daniels could be even stronger than they were in 2021 — when Larson scored a series-high 10 victories on the way to his first championship at the sport’s highest level. “I’m really easy to work with,” Larson said. “I feel like Cliff’s really easy to work with. I feel like we have great chemistry because he is so good at communicating and so good at painting a picture, and I like to process all that information to understand the flow of the race and stuff.”
Larson, who spent his first several seasons in Cup with Chip Ganassi Racing, was released by that organization early in the 2020 season when was caught on a hot mic using a racing slur. Larson later apologized profusely for his actions, underwent sensitivity training, and was eventually hired by Hendrick Motorsports to take over the organization’s No. 5 car for the 2021 season. Next season could be even more epic — and here’s betting it culminates in another championship.
“I’m in the best seat in the Cup Series,” Larson said. “I hope I’m with his organization as long as I want to race Cup cars. I don’t know how long that is. If we’re winning races and championships in 20 more years, I’ll still be doing it. It’s a great organization — one that I think every driver in the garage area would love to race for.”