By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
Japanese American NASCAR driver Kyle Larson is going into this Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with both a sense of optimism and relief.
His victory Sunday at the Pure Michigan 400 was his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Much was expected of Larson after he won Rookie of the Year honors in 2014. He came in second three times in that season, but victory had eluded him until Sunday.
“I’m definitely relieved to not have to keep wondering if I’ll ever win a Cup race,” said Larson to Auto Week. “That’s good, but there are still more races to be run, so we’re ready to go on now and win some more.”
Larson previously won five times at the NASCAR XFINITY series and twice at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Larson’s victory Sunday guarantees him a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.
NASCAR’s Drive Drive for Diversity program was launched not only to diversify the industry, but also its fan base which is largely White. The program is an academy-style development program for female and multicultural drivers and crew members who have the potential and determination to succeed at the highest levels of NASCAR.
Larson dedicated Sunday’s victory to Bryan Clauson who died from injuries sustained in a midget car accident in Belleville, Kansas.
“You feel almost like you’re racing for them and for the family. So definitely cool, and glad I could get the win, but it being close to Bryan’s death made it more special in a way.”