Kyle Larson’s recent sheet time at hospitals in Martinsville, Virginia, and Charlotte drove home a fact of life most 22-year-olds are not ready to accept.
“Yeah, definitely when you are young you think you are bulletproof, and that’s just one little instance that shows you that you aren’t,” Larson said Friday upon resuming his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career at Texas Motor Speedway. “You’ve got to take care of yourself as you get older; (I’m) definitely going to try and do a better job of that.”
The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Larson fainted during an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on March 28. Medically cleared to resume driving last week during the Easter break, Larson qualified his No. 42 AXE Chevrolet SS fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates ninth Friday afternoon for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500.
Larson has been advised to change his diet…specifically to start his day with breakfast and avoid junk food.
“Yeah, it stinks when you come here to Texas and they have the Fuzzy’s Tacos that are really good and you can’t go over there and eat them probably,” Larson said. “I hate breakfast, so I’ve got to find some things that I like to eat in the morning and just make sure I drink enough fluids. I feel like I take decent care of myself. That morning was a little bit different because I overslept and had to rush out to the car, but we should be good.”
Larson was replaced on the half-mile Martinsville Speedway by Regan Smith. In addition to tracking “his” car, Larson also went to school on the series’ short-track specialists.
“Yeah, it’s never good when you have to miss a race,” Larson said. “Actually, I felt like I was still able to learn some things by sitting in the hospital bed watching the race. Martinsville is where I struggle the most on our tour. I was able to watch the good guys really because I’m never around the good guys during the race at Martinsville. The cameras are on them a lot so I can see what they are doing and listen to radio communications and things like that. Definitely learned a little bit.”
Larson will be making his fourth start on TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile quad-oval in search of his first laps led. He has two top 10s and a best finish of fifth in the events scheduled for 334 laps/501 miles.
“I like Texas because it’s pretty bumpy and the surface is worn-out,” Larson said. “You can move around on the racetrack, you can run the bottom all the way to the top. (Turns) 1 and 2 are really tricky to run the top because there are so many bumps. So it’s just a technical racetrack that I seem to do well at, I guess. I hope we can go out there and improve on those top 10s and turn them into two top-five finishes this year. Two wins would be good.”