Kyle Larson and Carl Edwards talk about the track bar control switch, which is intended to give drivers more control of the performance of their car during the race.
No. 42 Chevrolet was tops among five cars that hit the track Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear DAYTONA 500 PRACTICE 5 " Get full results Kyle Larson topped Thursday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Daytona International Speedway, posting a best speed of 192.699 mph on a chilly Florida afternoon. Larson's top speed was the slowest among all practice session leaders this week, but it came on a day in which nearly every Sprint Cup Series team opted to use the practice time to work on their respective cars in the garage, instead. Single-car runs were the norm Thursday, and only four others joined Larson on the 2.5-mile superspeedway. P1 on the board so far out of 2 cars pic.twitter.com/W8QKpXeZ0k — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) February 19, 2015 Cole Whitt finished behind Larson in second place (190.710 mph), followed by Michael Annett (190.098 mph), J.J. Yeley (189.478 mph) and Jeb Burton (187.864 mph). Burton steered his No. 26 Toyota onto the track with five minutes remaining in practice. Thursday's 85-minute session was the only on-track time for Sprint Cup Series cars Thursday in advance of tonight's Budweiser Duels (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). RELATED: Full lineup for tonight's races Following tonight's qualifying races for the Daytona 500, cars are back on track Friday at 11 a.m. (FOX Sports 1) for practice.
Last year's top rookie edges Harvick on Atlanta leaderboard
ENEOS will be primary sponsor for eight races on the No. 42 Chevrolet Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " RELATED: New 2015 looks revealed on social media Kyle Larson will run eight NASCAR XFINITY Series races with ENEOS as the primary sponsor of his No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro, HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi announced Thursday. In addition, ENEOS will be a full-time associate sponsor for the No. 42 XFINITY Series team and the No. 2 Larson Marks Racing World of Outlaws sprint car team this season. Larson , the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, twice featured ENEOS' colors in the NASCAR XFINITY Series last season, winning with the scheme in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. ENEOS is the premium synthetic oil brand for Japan's largest oil company, JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp. Larson , whose mother is Japanese, is a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. Welcome @ENEOSUSA and @KyleLarsonRacin back in the 2015 @NASCAR_XFINITY season! #ENEOSRacing http://t.co/ZnenHBVtex pic.twitter.com/p08JYGRRTF — HScott with Ganassi (@TeamHSMCG) February 5, 2015 Excited to have @ENEOSUSA back with our @XFINITYRacing team and with the @LarsonMarks team this year #ENEOSRacing pic.twitter.com/J96TZ8AkZr — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) February 5, 2015 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver motivated by last year's questioning; no such feelings in 2015 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The chatter around Kyle Larson in last year's "meet the press" session at Daytona International Speedway had a specific tenor to it, with the only thing certain being the uncertainty. How would the bright-eyed rookie perform, and was team owner Chip Ganassi bringing him to NASCAR's top-level Sprint Cup Series too early? After last year's breakout, when he came ultra-close to knocking down the wall for his first big-league stock car win, Larson said there's some validation to quieting his former detractors. "This Media Day's a lot different than last year's, for sure -- a lot different questions," Larson said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. "I definitely paid attention to it, people doubting what we were going to be able to do last year and it fueled our team to go out and prove them wrong. I didn't let it get to me or anything like that. "Just like anything else, I just go out there and do the best job I can, and I'm going to try to do the same thing this year." He returns to Daytona this year with more maturity backing his 22 years, some of which comes with being a new father, just weeks after he and girlfriend Katelyn Sweet celebrated the Dec. 22 birth of young Owen Miyata. In terms of racing performance, he's also matured quickly on the track, wrapping the year with top-10 finishes in nearly half (17 of 36) of the Sprint Cup schedule last season. After finishing second three times last year and becoming a more regular contender near the front of the pack, the outlook for 2015 is even brighter. "Last year, nobody had any expectations for me except failing," Larson said. "The expectations are different this year, a little more pressure, but our team's not paying attention to any of those expectations. We're just going to go out there and do the best we can. I think we can run up front every week, hopefully, be competitive and try and get a couple wins." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Larson , McMurray get more practice time for IMSA event
NASCAR stars spend day at MacDill Air Force Base, discuss 2015 outlook Photo courtesy of USO PHOTOS: See more from their visit as drivers get out on the Road to Daytona TAMPA, Fla. -- New father Kyle Larson smiled at what he says was a career first: an autograph request from a five-year-old girl for her bright pink "My Little Pony." Sitting alongside Larson at a USO event at MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday, Tony Stewart joked with servicemen and charmed their wives as he signed his name on die-cast cars, T-shirts, photographs and car parts. Military families and troops stood in line for more than an hour to meet NASCAR's three-time champion Stewart, last year's Sunoco Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III, who spent the the day touring a huge KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, taking turns on plane simulators and watching a military working dog demonstration. At one point, when told the trio was running a little late for a portion of the itinerary, Air Force Sgt. Brandon Shapiro joked, "I guess Tony Stewart wasn't driving." It was difficult to tell who was more committed to this USO experience -- the fans who, like Shapiro, were so eager to meet their NASCAR heroes or these drivers equally as eager to properly thank America's heroes: these military members and their families. "We get to do a lot of neat things throughout the year but anytime you get to do something with the military it ranks high," Stewart said. "It's a group of people that don't get the appreciation they deserve for what they do and the sacrifices they make. It's a day out of our lives, but it's months and years they dedicate to making sure we're able to do what we love for a living." His living is something Stewart is particularly grateful for after a couple of emotional and difficult seasons when he has uncharacteristically not been a part of the championship mix as a driver, although his good friend and teammate Kevin Harvick delivered Stewart-Haas Racing its second championship in four years. RELATED: In midst of awful year, Stewart remains 'so grateful' Stewart said Tuesday that he feels well medically after offseason surgery on the leg he broke in 2013, and enjoyed some good time off the past two months. "It feels the best it's felt since I had the crash," Stewart says of his right leg, severely broken in a sprint car racing crash in August of 2013. "I had surgery December 1 and feel good. I get a year break now and go back and have it operated on again next December to get the rod out. And I'm looking forward to not having hardware in my leg anymore." And with NASCAR all but eliminating offseason testing, Stewart, Larson and their fellow drivers had more time on their hands. "I got to do everything I wanted to do," Stewart said with a smile. "I went to Yuma, Arizona and watched Kyle win a (sprint car) race out there right after New Year's, and I went to Tulsa (Oklahoma) for Chili Bowl last week. I had a different role than what I'm used to. Instead of driving (a car) I was driving a tractor and doing track prep. MORE: NASCAR drivers give flavor to Chili Bowl "I enjoyed my offseason. I got to go home and see my mother and father, niece and nephew and sister. I got to do the things I wanted to do. "It was very needed and I feel like we've had a good enough break now and it's time to get back to doing what we do." Stewart knows he'll need the reboot to handle challenges from the 22-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing driver Larson , who not only won 2014 rookie honors but also established himself a high-wattage star ready to step up and contend for a title. And while they both said they enjoyed the offseason -- Larson and his longtime girlfriend Katelyn Sweet welcomed their first baby, son Owen in December -- these drivers are also tangibly eager to start the 2015 season. Larson laughed, noting that he couldn't be more ready for a second chance in the Daytona 500 after brushing the wall on the very first lap of the 2014 race. "I remember Tony making a lot of fun of me during that six-hour rain delay we had," Larson said grinning. "The 500 couldn't go any worse so it's going to go better than it did last year. ... I'd love to get a good finish and put this trophy in my new house." Many -- including a large portion of Tuesday's crowd -- believe Larson will need lots of trophy shelving. One retired serviceman couldn't resist giving Larson one bit of advice, referring to Larson's headline-making last-lap door-to-door battle with Ryan Newman . "Next time, take him out," the gentleman urged loudly. Larson broke into a smile and shook his head. One fan after another offered encouragement and patted him on the back, welcoming NASCAR's next phenom. Larson knows he raised the bar on expectations last season and wouldn't have it any other way. "It's a good thing," he said. "Last year I feel like I exceeded a lot of people's expectations so this year I hope to do the same even though those expectations are a lot higher. "We were close to getting a couple wins last year and barely missed the Chase. Had we made the Chase, we would have run really well in the points. So basing off last season, I think we can race for a championship. I really do." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Comparing Larson to some of the all-time greats Editor's note: Graphics by Jenna Wagner Kyle Larson completed one of the best rookie season in premier series history in 2014. While Victory Lane was just out of grasp for the 22-year-old, his overall numbers were comparable to some of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history. Take a look below to see how Larson compares to Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty in their rookie years, and then use the second graphic to see how those three NASCAR legends performed in their second year -- perhaps a comp that Larson can target in 2015.
Felix Sabates makes a guarantee that both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray will make the Chase in 2015. Chip Ganassi also gives Jamie McMurray the "big-game hunter" moniker.
This victory marks the first Rolex 24 win for Larson in just his second start