NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie driver Kyle Larson will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut on Oct. 12 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’ll drive the No. 51 Chevrolet of Phoenix Racing through a deal with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. While competing for Turner Scott Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, Larson is a development driver for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, and EGR announced in August that Larson would drive the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Sprint Cup entry full-time in 2014.
“I am very excited to get behind the wheel of a Cup car in Charlotte this month, especially getting to race with the Target (sponsor) bullseye on the car,” Larson said. “I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the 2014 season, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Plans also have Larson in the No. 51 Cup car for the Oct. 27 race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
“We are happy to have an opportunity to get Kyle in a couple of Cup races this year,” EGR co-owner Chip Ganassi said. “Those races, along with an aggressive testing schedule, will be invaluable in his preparation for the 2014 season.”
In addition to going full-time Sprint Cup racing next year and competing for Rookie of the Year in that series, Larson plans to continue to compete full-time in the Nationwide Series.
So far this year, Larson has 28 Nationwide Series starts and is ninth in the Nationwide championship points stanings. He has eight top-fives and 25 top-10 finishes, including a runner-up showing on Saturday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He has also made two starts in the Camping World Truck Series this year, with one of those races resulting in a win at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway and the other a second-place showing at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Phoenix Racing recently underwent an ownership change as the organization changed hands from James Finch to Harry Scott Jr., co-owner of the Turner Scott Motorsports team for which Larson races in the Nationwide Series. Other drivers to pilot the No. 51 this year include Justin Allgaier, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Truex and Austin Dillon. The team’s only Sprint Cup win came in 2009 when Brad Keselowski drove a then-numbered 09 entry, owned by Finch, to victory lane at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR