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  • Kyle Larson of Elk Grove competed in six different cars in seven days during his first Speedweeks in Florida and won twice.

  • David Graham / Associated Press

    Kyle Larson's car goes airborne during a multicar wreck on the final lap of the Nationwide Series race at Daytona in February. Pieces from the crash injured fans, and a forklift was needed to get Larson's engine out of the catch fence.

Elk Grove's Larson expected to move up to NASCAR Sprint Cup series

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 - 2:31 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 - 3:42 pm

Elk Grove's Kyle Larson, a rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, is expected to be promoted to the major-leagues of motor sports -- the Sprint Cup Series -- at a press conference Friday at Atlanta Motorspeedway.

The Los Angeles Times reports that sources confirmed Wednesday that Larson will join Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will replace Juan Pablo Montoya on the two-car team.

The other driver is veteran Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray.

A former open-wheel driver who has won the Indianapolis 500 and competed in Formula One, Montoya was not offered a new contract by team owner Chip Ganassi. The 37-year-old driver found the transition to stock-car racing difficult in that tight bumper-to-bumper and wheel-to-wheel racing in the norm.

Montoya is currently 21st in the Sprint Cup standings.

Larson has already proven to be a driver with nerves of steel, unafraid to compete in tight-racing packs.

In his Nationwide debut at Daytona in February, he was involved in a major crash on the final lap of a race when the front of his car was caught and shredded in the catch-fence just before the finish line. With his car torn in half, Larson calmly exited the car to observe the damage. He was back in a new car in the next race.

Despite no victories this season, Larson is in eighth place of the Nationwide point standings with six top-five finishes and 13 top-10 in 23 starts.

A Japanese-American decent, Larson caught his big break by being accepted into NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. Before that, he climbed up the racing ladder competing in midget cars and sprint cars around Northern California paved and dirt tracks.

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Read more articles by Victor Contreras

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