DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Larson says his previous interactions with new teammate Kurt Busch had been limited to isolated chit-chat, maybe an off-hand conversation when they qualified on the same row and shared a parade vehicle during pre-race ceremonies.
But based on conversations with others, Larson says he’s prepped for some solid chemistry building.
“Everybody I’ve talked to that’s been a teammate with him in the past has always said that as crazy as he is, he’s a great teammate,” Larson says, referring to Busch’s sometimes brash persona. “He’s been good to work with so far and he’s got a ton of knowledge and experience. I’ve enjoyed it and looking forward to getting to other race tracks outside of Daytona so we can learn more off of each other.”
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Larson, 26, is entering his sixth full season driving Chip Ganassi’s No. 42 Chevrolet. It will be his first campaign paired with Busch, the 2004 premier series champion who replaces Jamie McMurray in the No. 1 Chevrolet.
On the surface, Larson’s laid-back personality might seem to be on an opposite spectrum with the bolder Busch, who has mellowed over time after bursting onto the NASCAR scene with a gung-ho approach. But Larson says he’s less concerned about how they’ll mesh, focusing instead on soaking in the wealth of knowledge that comes with Busch’s experience and success.
“I think personality-wise, I think I’ll stay the same. I think work-ethic-wise, I think he can push you to be a little bit better, so I’m excited just in that aspect of thing,” Larson said. “… We’re around a lot of different people all the time and I feel like I do a good job of staying grounded and being who I am. I don’t think I’m going to have any episodes like he’s had in the past now that he’s my teammate, but like I said, it’s not often you get to work with a past champion as closely as I’m going to get to this year. I’m very excited about that opportunity.”