Just a few hours after being medically cleared to return to NASCAR competition, 2014 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson explained what doctors believe caused him to faint at the end of an autograph session last Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, forcing him to miss Sunday’s STP 500.
"I felt fine before we went to the autograph session," the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver said during a Thursday teleconference. "I got through to the end of it, and I was just talking to one more fan, the last person there, really, and just started getting lightheaded and tried to lean forward and maybe see if that fixed it, and then I passed out."
Larson blamed himself for the incident, saying his morning was rushed and he was unable to properly take care of himself throughout the day.
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The 22-year-old driver said he felt fine shortly after fainting, despite being taken to a local hospital for tests. The doctors in Martinsville pointed to dehydration as the cause of his blackout, but suggested he see a neurologist to rule out other possibilities.
"One of the first things they thought it was was dehydration, so they just ran a bunch of tests, like tons of tests on me just to make sure nothing else was wrong with my body," he said. "It all kind of circled back to just being dehydrated."
Once transported to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday evening, Larson met with a neurologist and underwent extensive tests aimed at determining a definite cause for his fainting spell.
"I don’t know what specific things they tested me for, but I had stuff hooked up to me from my head to my toes, really. Probably the only test they didn’t get in there was a math test," he said, adding that all tests came back negative.
Larson said it took a few moments after fainting to figure out what was going on, but felt fine shortly thereafter and was never really scared about his condition or future in racing. His main concern was being cleared to race at Martinsville.
"Any time you’re in a hospital, you get nervous," said Larson, who became a first-time father back in December. "But I was confident everything was fine, and it turned out where everything in the end was fine. Like I said, just got to make sure I hydrate myself throughout the day better than I did that day."
Unable to compete on Sunday, Larson watched the Martinsville race on FOX Sports 1 and listened to team communication with a mobile application. He was also able to watch the IndyCar Series season opener, keeping tabs on all the Ganassi cars throughout the day.
Larson doesn’t anticipate any further medical tests and said he’s looking forward to the upcoming off-weekend and next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.