This week’s Continental Tire IMSA Spotlight is Kyle Larson, one of four overall defending champion drivers with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. He’ll share the car with fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammate Jamie McMurray and Ganassi Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.
Driver Spotlight: Kyle Larson
Driver, No. 02 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford
How does it feel to return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona as defending champion?
“It feels about a year ago! It doesn’t feel forever ago, but not yesterday either. For as busy as we stay throughout our year, it seems normal to be back now.”
How good is it to know you have the same driving combination for another year?
“It’s a great team, and a great combo with (Scott) Dixon leading it, and me on the tail. Then Jamie (McMurray) and TK (Tony Kanaan). It’s a good team. Hopefully we can put a whole 24 hours together and get another watch.”
How much fun do you have doing this race with your NASCAR and IndyCar teammates?
“I enjoy it. The first year I didn’t have much fun. Last year, it was more fun. The whole of just having all the drivers together; this is about the only time all year we are all together from Chip Ganassi Racing. You hear everyone tell stories.
“We have dinner with Chip on Friday (of the Roar) that’s the highlight of this week for sure, and possibly the coolest for all of Rolex buildup. It’s a cool dinner.
“We’re all just telling stories. Then to go out and get to see everyone’s driving talent, sharing a vehicle is pretty fun too.”
What was your confidence level going into 2015, considering you’d had at least one year experience the year before?
“To be honest, I was probably less confident going into last year’s race, given how poorly I felt I did the first year.
“Now, knowing I can drive these things, and having some speed in the race last year, I’m pretty confident going into this season and this race.
“I’m just looking forward to getting on the track and making sure I haven’t forgotten anything.”
This will be your first of at least two races at Daytona in the next couple months, with the NASCAR opener. Given that, what’s your thoughts on how the Speedway looks with the new Daytona Rising grandstand?
“It honestly doesn’t look too different. I’ve never been to Daytona until three years ago. But it’s definitely taller and bigger for sure.
“Maybe when we come back in a couple weeks, and have some more time, I’d like to go up into the stands and see the breezeway and stuff like that. I hear it’s spectacular.
“Once I see the other side of the track, other than being stuck here in the infield, I’ll see all the changes and how cool they are.”