To surprise of no one, Kyle Larson earns Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors

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Kyle Larson will have to wait until his sophomore season of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition to get his first victory.

But Larson was still clearly a cut above the series’ other freshmen this season, and after finishing 13th in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 21-year-old was named 2014 Cup Rookie of the Year.

“We were really competitive all season long with the Target team, and came really, really close to winning a couple of them,” Larson said afterwards. “Starting off the year finishing second, really really early in the season at Fontana was great. There was a lot of room on the Kyle Larson bandwagon on to start the season.

“I think a lot of people chose Austin Dillon to win it, and I was pretty confident in myself and in my team that we could do it. I knew there would be some ups and downs, but I felt like we would be the top contender once we got halfway through the season, and we definitely were.

“[I’m] really proud of that, proud of the effort everybody has put in on these race cars. We’ve gotten better throughout the season, and it’s just a huge honor to win this title with all the other names that have won it.”

The 2014 campaign featured a class of eight rookies, but almost immediately, many observers expected RoY honors to go to either Larson or Dillon, who was coming off winning the 2013 Nationwide Series championship.

However, Larson quickly showed that he was the best of the lot.

Although he was unable to win and did not make the Chase, he still collected three runner-up finishes (the aforementioned Fontana, New Hampshire, and Kansas). Plus, he had more Top-5 finishes – eight – than two of the championship contenders, Denny Hamlin (seven) and Ryan Newman (five).

“I think just being competitive and challenging for Top-5s and Top-10s most every week has been really good,” Larson added on Sunday night. “There are a lot of moments that stand out, a lot of heartbreak moments as well.

“We will come back next season, peel the rookie stripes off, and try and go out there and win a race and get into the Chase and do what Kevin Harvick did tonight.”

Most importantly, with Larson behind the wheel, the previously moribund No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team became a contender more often than not during the season.

Meanwhile, Dillon was able to avoid a single DNF in his rookie year in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy but could only muster one Top-5 run. He was also beaten by Larson on Top-10 finishes (Larson’s 17 to his four) and on average finish (Larson’s 14.2 to Dillon’s 17.5).

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”