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Kyle Larson to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2021?

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It’s no secret that Stewart-Haas Racing want and have wanted Kyle Larson for several years. Will they sign him ahead of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season?

Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart wanted Kyle Larson behind the wheel of the #14 Ford in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Stewart announced in 2015 that the 2016 season would be his last. But even with Larson available for the 2017 season, the team announced that Clint Bowyer would be Stewart’s replacement, as Larson was unable to sign a contract with another team at that time, per the specifics of his contract.

Four years later, Larson still hasn’t driven for Stewart-Haas Racing. The 27-year-old Elk Grove, California native has driven for Chip Ganassi Racing since his rookie season in 2014, but his dirt racing background and Cup Series potential have made him quite appealing to Stewart.

Only half of Stewart-Haas Racing’s driver lineup for the 2020 season has been confirmed, as Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola are slated to return while Bowyer and Daniel Suarez do not currently have contracts to do so.

But Larson is slated to return to Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2020 season for the seventh consecutive year, so barring an unforeseen set of circumstances, he will be back behind the wheel of the #42 Chevrolet next year, and Stewart-Haas Racing will have to continue on without him.

However, that narrative may change in 2021.

Larson finally secured his first victory in over two years in this last Sunday’s round of 12 playoff race at Dover International Speedway, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

On several instances during his 75-race win drought from September of 2017 to October of 2019, Larson should have been in victory lane.

It’s no secret that he blew a lot of these potential victories, but it’s also far from debatable that others got away from him due to pit issues and other factors that were out of his control, including a few during the 2017 playoffs that perhaps even cost him the championship.

There’s a saying that “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. If Larson can prove that this victory was truly him “getting the monkey off his back” and contend for the championship at Chip Ganassi Racing this year, he may want to think about signing another contract extension. The team would certain welcome him back.

But if his (finally) proven winning efforts again go to waste due to something out of his control whether that is in 2019 or 2020, an open seat at Stewart-Haas Racing should be an attractive option for Larson, and there should be at least two of them ahead of the 2021 season.

One of them will likely go to Stewart-Haas Racing Xfinity Series superstar Cole Custer, if one doesn’t go to him next year. But given his ties to Stewart, Larson is clearly still on the team’s radar, and the 2021 season could provide the opportunity for the two sides to finally join forces in the Cup Series.

It is worth mentioning that Larson has expressed a great amount of interest in competing in the Indianapolis 500, and Chip Ganassi Racing are one of only two teams that field teams in both NASCAR and IndyCar.

But the last NASCAR driver who competed in the Indy 500 was Kurt Busch, and he drove in it while he was driving for Stewart-Haas Racing back in 2014, so a move to Stewart-Haas Racing would certainly not alienate Larson from the possibility of being the next driver to attempt the Memorial Day Double.

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Will Kyle Larson drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, or will he continue driving for Chip Ganassi Racing? At this point, it seems like him driving for Stewart-Haas Racing is inevitable at some point, and the 2021 season makes the most sense as far as him potentially beginning his stint with the team is concerned.

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