Kyle Larson met with the media Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, returning to his Northern California stomping grounds as the defending Cup Series race winner. The questions were customary about stage strategy, tire management, being back home, and his plans for the off weekend next week. But tacked onto the press conference was a burning question by a special guest, hinting at a special Garage 56 appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Boris Said, a former Sonoma race winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, took the microphone Saturday to also ask about Larson’s off-weekend plans — except for 2023, not this season.
“So if next year is an off weekend, would you spend it in France vacationing?” Said asked.
Larson laughed and said, “I would, yes,” as Said interjected: “At Le Mans?”
“If NASCAR would allow us, for sure,” Larson said.
“Cool,” was Said’s reply.
The playful exchange may have gently stoked speculation about the Garage 56 collaboration between NASCAR and Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports team, targeted for the 2023 endurance race next year. The driver lineup has not been announced for the Next Gen stock-car entry into the 24-hour classic, but the organization’s pool of drivers could be natural fits if the race coincides with an idle weekend on the to-be-released NASCAR schedule for 2023.
The 2022 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is this weekend. Dignitaries from both NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports are in attendance to experience the 90th running.
Said is on hand at Sonoma this weekend as the track honors the four previous winners of Camping World Truck Series races there. The tailgate tour is back at the 1.99-mile road course this season after a four-race run from 1995-98. Said is the most recent Sonoma truck winner, and was joined by fellow victors Ron Hornaday Jr. (1995), Dave Rezendes (1996) and Joe Ruttman (1997).