HomeSportsNascarKyle Larson believes Ross Chastain could dethrone Chase Elliott for Most Popular Driver

Kyle Larson believes Ross Chastain could dethrone Chase Elliott for Most Popular Driver

by Jonathan Howard
Kyle Larson GEICO 500
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Kyle Larson sees the writing on the wall. The Rise of Ross Chastain could already be underway, look out Chase Elliott. Even though Larson is teammates with Elliott, he doesn’t know how much longer his reign as Most Popular Driver is going to last with Chastain around.

Let’s just look at what Ross has going for him. He’s on one of the most exciting and interesting teams in the sport in Trackhouse Racing. He burst onto the scene last year with wins at COTA and the GEICO 500 at Talladega in 2022. We can’t forget the Hail Melon at Martinsville, either.

Not only that, Ross has been a thorn in the side of drivers that fans love to hate. Guys like Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch keep complaining and another Trackhouse fan is born. Oh, and he popped Noah Gragson in the mouth after the race last week, proving these drivers can complain about him, but they are going to have to put up a fight to do something about it.

Kyle Larson was impressed with his pit road skills.

“I will say, I think and I’ve told a lot of people this,” Larson said on his High Limit Room podcast on FloRacing. “Ross is like my size but I think he is so scrappy. He just looks scrappy. So, I think Ross would beat up most people in the garage, honestly.”

Larson just came out and said it. Straight up, Ross can be more popular than Chase, the five-time Most Popular Driver recipient.

“I think Ross [has] got the potential to be more popular than Chase Elliott.”

Given all of the momentum that Melon Man has behind him, I wouldn’t doubt Kyle Larson’s take here.

Kyle Larson is hoping to rebound after Kansas

Of course, last week at Kansas was a little disappointing for Kyle Larson. He finished P2 but he had his eyes on a win. Denny Hamlin made sure that didn’t happen as he side-drafted Larson hard enough to put him into the wall.

A lot of fans felt the move was cheap. However, Larson didn’t seem to have much problem with it. Hamlin had tried to pass him clean and missed his chance with lap traffic. Since Larson was so loose, Hamlin didn’t have to do much to throw off his aerodynamics.

Darlington is a track that Kyle Larson has not won at. He would like to see a breakthrough at The Lady in Black. As a driver known for driving up on the wall within inches of contact, Larson should be able to get things going at Darlington.

With two wins already this season, it feels like Larson wants to make a statement. Of course, every driver wants to rack up wins, but the No. 5 Chevy seems to be on a much different path than the rest of the field.