How Kyle Larson is Helping Expand NASCAR to New Audiences

by Jonathan Howard

It’s no secret that Kyle Larson has had a rough past. However, the NASCAR star is now a major ambassador for expanding the sport. Off the heels of the Chicago street race announcement, the mission for NASCAR has never been more clear. Grow the sport and reach out to new audiences. Even if that means taking it directly to those new people in question.

In Philadelphia, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion is doing a lot to connect stock car racing to places that usually wouldn’t be seen as hotbeds. Together with the Urban Youth Racing School, Kyle Larson has opened his mind and ears to young fans. He’s also helped get them into the sport themselves.

Donating race simulators, going to different events, and trying his best to reach out to the Black communities in the areas that he’s working. After Larson’s inappropriate and hurtful comments during a 2020 iRacing event, his future was unclear. NASCAR asked him to make some changes, to learn some lessons – he did that and more.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps has taken notice for sure.

“The journey [Kyle] was on was extraordinary,” Phelps said to the Portland Press Herald. “We asked him to do a series of things, and he did so much more than that. To have the school embrace him like they did, that true love affair that exists between the school and Kyle, I think is amazing.”

Kyle Larson is also working with his Hendrick Motorsports team to help the racing school. The UYRS Grand Prix in Philadelphia was a big fundraising event where all four Cup Series drivers competed.

Looking back at where Larson was when he was dropped by Chip Ganassi to now – it’s night and day. And he’s on his way to competing for another Cup Series title.

Kyle Larson Looking for Another Win on the Season

It is actually really surprising that Kyle Larson only has a single win on the year. However, that’s what we’re looking at heading into Pocono weekend. He isn’t a favorite to win the race, but he’s always going to be in contention. His No. 5 Hendrick Auto Chevy has eight top-5 finishes on the season as well. As one of the best five drivers on the season, in the points standings, he’s had a good year.

Still, you have to think that he expected to do more at this point in the season. He’s had some issues that have taken him out of a couple of races, but when he gets a complete race, Larson is dangerous. The Tricky Triangle has been home to some good races over the years. Larson has never been able to snag the checkered flag there, though.

So, as Kyle Larson continues to be one of the biggest names in NASCAR, he will continue to expand the sport to places it’s never been before. Places that are in need of loud engines and good times. As the sport grows, Larson will be a big part of that. He seems to have gotten a head start already.