DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 05: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 05, 2021 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Kyle Larson enjoyed negotiating his new contract extension with his ‘childhood hero’ Jeff Gordon

BRISTOL, Tenn. — When Kyle Larson was in the midst of negotiating his new contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports, he said it didn’t feel like much of a negotiation.

The reason for that was because he was negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through anything like that I guess,” said Larson, who will remain with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2026 season. “It was a fun process and fun to kind of go through it with Jeff. He’s somebody that I’ve looked up to my whole life.

“It’s just neat to see me dealing with contracts with my childhood hero.”

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Larson considers Gordon, who returned to Hendrick Motorsports this year following five years as an analyst for Fox Sports, more of a friend than a boss. He said that made the negotiation process much easier.

“Jeff is more of a friend I feel like than I view him as a boss or somebody like that,” Larson said. “I think it’s good to have that kind of relationship with him. I think it makes going through negotiations and stuff like that even easier.”

Larson joined Hendrick Motorsports for the 2021 season and stormed to the Cup Series championship thanks in large part to a career-best 10 victories.

He’s added two victories this season and enters Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) 27 points above the cutline as he looks to continue his run towards a second Cup Series title.

“I’m glad to have it done and glad to have it behind me and get focused on our racing and knowing that you’re going to be there for quite awhile,” Larson said.