The hot silly season rumor of late has been that Kyle Larson will be heading to Hendrick Motorsports in 2021, when he returns to the NASCAR Cup Series following a suspension. The statement that Larson released on Friday evening will do nothing but fuel that speculation even further.
Larson, 28, has announced that at the conclusion of the 2020 season, he will be closing down his Kyle Larson Racing World of Outlaws race team.
In the opening of his statement, Larson admitted that the closing of his team, which he’s owned for seven seasons, was a difficult decision.
We have made the very tough decision to close Kyle Larson Racing (KLR) upon the conclusion of the 2020 season. It has been a difficult year for everyone amid COVID-19, which is one of a handful of factors that led to this choice.
My commitment to sprint car racing, and grassroots racing as a whole, remains as strong as ever. Owning a World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series team brought me great satisfaction. It was a thrill to compete as an owner, and I am blessed and honored to have had the opportunity.
Larson cited COVID-19 as one of a handful of factors that caused him to close his team, but what else could have led to the decision?
Of course, Rick Hendrick has always attempted to limit his driver’s participation in series outside of NASCAR, especially in sprint car dirt racing, which comes at an elevated level of risk for injury. However, in his statement, Larson did mention that he would continue driving the No. 57 car for Silva Motorsports when possible going forward.
This latest announcement from Larson could have very well been a stipulation to joining the HMS stable.
It also could be that Larson chose to rid himself of all distractions around him as he prepares for a full-on return to NASCAR. Being the team owner of a racing organization is taxing mentally.
Either way, the Hendrick Motorsports rumor isn’t going away until HMS announces a different driver for 2021, or until the Larson announcement becomes official.
NASCAR officially announced on October 19th that they had opted to reinstate Larson from suspension. The suspension will be officially lifted on January 1st, 2021.
Larson was suspended in April after blurting out a racial slur during an iRacing event. In the months since, Larson has gone on a journey to better his life, and given numerous attempts to make amends to minority communities.
The California-native has six-career NASCAR Cup Series wins through 223 starts. He contested the opening four races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, recording three top-10 finishes.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.