NASCAR Superstar Kyle Larson Is Loving Life In Dad Mode As He Enters The Prime Of His Career

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For many racing fans, especially in the United States, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson is the most talented driver on the planet right now.

Larson, 30, won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2021. He’s won 14 races in the last three seasons, more than any other driver. DraftKings currently lists Larson as the odds on favorite to take home the 2023 championship as well at +650.

So yeah, it’s safe to say Larson is a pretty big deal in the world of racing.

For Three Special People, Kyle Larson Is Just ‘Dad’

Larson and his wife Katelyn have three children. The eldest, Owen, is eight. Their daughter, Audrey, is four. And the pair welcomed a third child, Cooper, on New Year’s Eve 2022.

While Larson is loving life on the track, where he just won his first race of the young 2023 season at Richmond Raceway, life as a dad has been even more rewarding.

Most recently, he got to share an incredible experience with his eldest son when Owen claimed his first ever race win at Millbridge Speedway at North Carolina.

“It was a really special moment just ’cause he honestly hasn’t ever been close to winning before,” Larson said of the victory. “I was really shocked and surprised and obviously happy. But I think I’m happy because of that surprise and so in shock.  I wasn’t expecting him to go to the first race of the season at win. He hadn’t been in a go-kart since, like, October of last year.”

Larson added that while he was excited about the victory, he was even more happier to see his son’s reaction.

“It was cool to see him happy and proud of himself. I feel like it’s frustrating at times ’cause he’s pretty hard on himself. It was cool to see him accomplish something like that.”

While the victory was big for the younger Larson on the track, Kyle spoke about what it meant to his son away from the track and how much he’s enjoyed watching that aspect as a parent.

“It’s really cool to just see, not only in racing and sports and stuff, but seeing your children grow and develop,” he said. “Almost every week it’s something. Whether they’re getting smarter, or more athletic, or whatever. It’s just really cool to see that development. Since that first win that he had I feel like he’s just been more confident in everything that he’s done, from school work, to basketball and racing. So it’s just really cool to see that.”

Dad Life Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Larson’s Racing Schedule Will Shrink

In addition to NASCAR, Larson also keeps up a busy racing schedule on the sprint car circuit. In 2023, he plans to run around 100 races in total. With three kids, it’s  easy to imagine that schedule shrinking in the coming years. But Larson says there’s no guarantee of that.

“I think about it, but I don’t know,” he said of a reduced schedule. “I said I was gonna slow down some this year. I still have like a hundred races on my schedule. Thankfully, I’ve got a great wife who takes care of things very well at home and with the kids and not only her, grandmas and nanny and all that, participate in helping keep our life flowing where, I can be gone and, trying to, make a living for all of us and continue to live out my dreams and try to become the most successful race car driver I can be.

“But yeah, I will always continue to race dirt cars. Will I race a hundred races plus a year five years from now? I don’t know. Probably not. But I could be. I could be racing more. Who knows? Once I can race with Owen, in a handful of years, maybe we’ll go off racing a ton. But we’ll see. It’s hard to see the future.

One race that Larson won’t be taking off the schedule is the prestigious Indianapolis 500. The California native made waves when he announced he would run the race in 2024 in a partnership with IndyCar team Arrow McLaren SP.

“For me, like wasn’t much that went into it,” Larson said of the planning. I said a few times to (NASCAR team owners) Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon that I would like the opportunity to run the Indy 500 some day and would love their support. They were supportive of it and I kind of just let them take it from there and try and find me a nice quality car to get in with help from Chevrolet. Arrow McLaren is one of the top teams in IndyCar and I’m just happy to be able to do it.”

Larson won’t run the race this year. But there’s thought behind that.

“It’s tough to to do something you’ve never done before. To go to the biggest race in the world and expect to compete for a win when you only have a few months to prep for it,” he said.

And while Larson certainly isn’t calling his shot in 2024, he sees no reason why he can’t be competitive.

“You just take more time to study and be prepared and feel like you have an opportunity to go out there and at least have a good finish. Ultimately, I’ve never entered a race that I didn’t feel like I wanted to win or at least could win. So I just wanna be prepared.”

All Eyes On A Second NASCAR Cup Series Championship

For now, however, the focus lies in NASCAR and chasing down a second championship. Larson has already secured a spot in the series’ playoffs with the win at Richmond and Hendrick Motorsports currently leads the way when it comes to having fast cars week in and week out.

But is Larson concerned about peaking too soon, with seven months remaining until the series finale in Phoenix?

“I think you’re just always working on it no matter how fast you are,” he said. Looking at my 2021 season that we had, we were really strong, I would say very equal to where we are as an organization right now. And I remember being really nervous throughout the year. I was just scared that we were peaking at the wrong time of season. But we continued to get better and better and better and we ended up winning half of the playoff races and the championship.

We lived through it in 2021. We proved that we could continue to get better. I’m confident that’s the same for this year and we’ll be able to ride this speed that we have in our cars for the whole year.”

Larson won 10 races in his championship-winning campaign. He’ll look for his second victory of 2023 on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on FOX) where he is, you guessed it, the favorite to win on the dirt surface that has already brought him so much success.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity)