NASCAR: Kyle Larson thought he might be suspended

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Kyle Larson was selected to the list of 75 greatest NASCAR drivers, but he was worried at first when he received the call to inform him.

As part of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1998, NASCAR gathered a panel to select the “50 Greatest NASCAR Drivers of All Time.”

As part of their 75th anniversary celebration in 2023, they are adding 25 drivers to the list.

Over the last few weeks, they have added 12 of those 25 drivers. One of those new additions is Kyle Larson, who currently drives the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

NASCAR Senior Advisor Mike Helton called Larson to inform him when he was in the middle of a bike ride, so Larson had to call him back.

Larson was worried about it at first, since he had just had a run-in with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Larson made contact with Preece early in the race, causing him to make contact with the wall. Preece did not forget about it and drove Larson into the wall later in the race when Larson tried to pass him on the outside. In an apparent retaliation attempt, Larson ended up spinning himself out, bringing an early end to his race.

Here is what Larson had to say about the phone call, according to NBC Sports.

"“I’m like nervous, because I’m like, ‘Man, Bristol just happened, am I trouble or something? It’s Thursday, are you guys going to suspend me this late in the week?“I was honestly just like speechless because I didn’t really at the time think that I was deserving to be on that list. You think about 75 years. There had to have been more than 75 drivers better than me to this point. So I didn’t really feel like I deserved to be on it.”"

But while NASCAR fans — and drivers — tend to view some of the sport’s earlier drivers in very high regard, the numbers prove Larson belongs.

The 2023 season is just his ninth season as a full-time driver, and he is already in a 38th place tie on the all-time wins list with 21. The 2021 champion is one of only 35 drivers who have won a championship, and his championship-winning season was the first in which a driver won 10 races since Jimmie Johnson won 10 races in 2007.

Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott have also been added to the list. The new additions aren’t being announced in any particular order.

dark. Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list

Other active drivers who have a good chance to be added to the list include Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski.