Kyle Larson: ‘We’ve lost touch with grassroots race fans’

NASCAR, like other professional sports, is always looking for ways to attract new fans, especially younger ones.

Kyle Larson, the points leader in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, has an idea how to do it: Have Cup drivers run more local short-track races during the week.

Larson, a California native, grew up racing sprint cars on dirt short tracks out west, and his contract with car owner Chip Ganassi allows him to run up to 25 races a year outside of NASCAR.

He thinks other drivers should do likewise.

“I feel like everybody needs to encourage me and others to go race at your local short track and all that because I feel like we’ve lost touch with our grassroots race fans,” said Larson, who will start from the pole in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (live television coverage starts on FS1 at 12:30 p.m. ET).

“I really think with me going back and doing that stuff and Kyle Busch running Late Model races throughout the year, it really kind of gets the local fans back excited about NASCAR,” said Larson. “I feel like the last decade or so they’ve kind of lost touch with it.”

So, Larson has a message for fans to share with Ganassi and team co-owner Felix Sabates.

“I feel like everybody should instead of making Chip and Felix feel like they have to shut me down, should encourage them because it helps our fan base out,” said Larson.

Sounds good to us.