Larson not disappointed he won’t drive No. 24


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kyle Larson grew up a fan of Jeff Gordon, once sat in Gordon’s office as Gordon discussed the young driver’s future, but he will not be the racer to replace the four-time champion.

Although some questioned if Larson could be the driver to take over the No. 24 ride, that honor will go to Chase Elliott next season, Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday.

Larson said he’s not disappointed.

“I’m happy where I’m at,’’ Larson said during the NASCAR Sprint Cup media tour. “That’s cool for Chase. He’ll definitely be a front-runner right off the bat.

Larson says he looks to do with the No. 42 what Gordon did for the No. 24 – a car number that had never won a Cup race before Gordon took over that number.

“A lot of people have told me that the 24 then was what the 42 is now where they weren’t the biggest team in NASCAR and Jeff kind of took that and made it into what it is,’’ said Larson, who is looking for his first Cup victory and narrowly missed make the Chase last year as a rookie. “I like that possibility to be the guy to make Chip Ganassi Racing a championship team year in and year out. I look forward to hopefully spending a long time with Chip and win a lot of races.’’

Although Gordon was Larson’s favorite driver years ago, Larson said he never dreamed of driving the No. 24 car.

“When I was a kid, Jeff Gordon was invincible and I probably thought he was going to race the rest of his life,’’ Larson said.

Instead, this will be Gordon’s final full season in Cup.

Next year, when Larson races against that car, Elliott will be driving it.

It could be the beginning of quite a rivalry.

“A rivalry in a good way, a competitive way,” Larson said. “When I think of a rivalry, I think of two drivers who butt heads. Me and Chase are friends and he’s really, really good. I hope we have a rivalry in a competitive way, that means we’re both up front, competing for wins.’’

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.