Coming into 2014, the set of drivers with the familiar yellow stripe on the back bumper of their Sprint Cup cars was numerous — and touted as a super strong set of rookies. But if there was any doubt as to who was the cream of the crop, both this year, and in future years, the last two races have shown that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver of the No. 42 is head and shoulders above the competition.
In the last two races, which also happened to be the first two 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup race, Larson has finished above all but one Cup contender in one instance, and two in the other. Larson raced aggressively at Chicagoland Speedway besting all but Jeff Gordon and winner, Brad Keselowski.
This past weekend, Larson again finished second — this time to Keselowski’s Penske teammate, Joey Logano. Both Penske teammates have guaranteed themselves in the second round of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup, but it’s Larson who’s showing consistency and hunger for a win, despite making the Chase.
There’s a legitimate chance that Larson will end up as one of a few non-Chase drivers who wins in the 2014 Chase.
Larson is showing great consistency and even better potential in his first full-time year in the Sprint Cup series. So far in 2014, Larson has already had a single pole, along with 7 top 5’s and 13 top 10’s — all impressive for a rookie in the top NASCAR series.
Compare those numbers to the driver most likely to be the 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year runner-up. The No. 3 driver, Austin Dillon, in the same number of starts has 2 poles, but only a single top 5 finish, and only a trio of top 3’s. Dillon’s stats are commendable for a first year Cup driver, but no where near as nice or consistent as Larson’s.
While both will be successful, Kyle Larson has already wrapped up the 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year competition, with eight races still to go. I fully expect to see Larson’s No. 42 in victory lane sooner than later. His combined consistency and aggression will get him there.