While some NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series drivers are enjoying their off-season and spending the holidays at home, one driver is halfway across the world gearing up to race.
Kyle Larson is visiting New Zealand with his fiance and son for the holidays, but that won’t stop him from getting on the track at a local raceway.
Larson was in New Zealand last summer and was slated to race, but due to some bad weather his plans unfortunately changed. One man in particular was disappointed by the news, but he’s happy to see Larson back and ready to give it another go, according to the New Zealand Herald.
New Zealand’s leading Midget driver Michael Pickens was excited for the chance to race against a driver he looks up to. Now that Larson is back in his homeland it looks like he’ll get his shot.
“In my book he is the best guy period no matter what he is driving,” Pickens said in an interview with the Herald. “It is pretty neat to have him down here again and for fans to see one of the best drivers of my era.”
Pickens has very high praise for by far one of the most talented young guns in the sport today. Larson was named Mobil 1 Driver of the Year at last month’s NASCAR Awards, and overall had one heck of a season. He had four wins on the season, with 15 top-5 finishes, and 20 top-10’s.
To see the respect for NASCAR drivers come from other drivers as far away as New Zealand is rather impressive.
“There are other drivers out there that have done amazing things in the past but in my era there is no one like him,” Pickens said.
Pickens will captain the New Zealand team in the six-meeting International Midget Series over the span of the next 10 days, with teams from his homeland, as well as teams from the United States and Australia, scheduled to race.