One look at his wrist and Kyle Larson says it’s time to win races and Sprint Cup crown

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Kyle Larson is not a quitter. But after his dismal debut in last year’s Rolex 24, the reigning NASCAR rookie of the year was prepared to skip this year’s running of the Rolex.

But one look at the newest addition to his jewelry collection on his left wrist proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Larson was right in giving himself and the Rolex 24 another try.

He and Sprint Cup teammate Jamie McMurray were part of the winning team in last weekend’s annual running of the Rolex at Daytona International Speedway.

“To get the opportunity to run the Rolex 24 for (team owner Chip Ganassi) was something I looked forward to last year,” Larson said during Thursday’s final day of the annual NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C. “And then, after how I felt I ran last year, I hated the race.

“I didn’t really want to come back and run it again this year. I’m so happy I did, so happy I did. I’m having the time of my life right now, a lot of cool things going on. The Rolex 24 is the latest cool thing that’s happened.”

MORE: Larson not disappointed he won’t drive No. 24

It’s hard to say what meant more to Larson, being a part of the winning team or the Rolex watch he was given.

“Right now it’s 1:17,” Larson, 22, said, one of several times he was caught looking, admiring and smiling at the new watch on his left wrist during the news conference.

Time is of the essence for Larson, who is entering his second full-time season on the Sprint Cup circuit. He nearly won in Cup last year several times, and he is bound and determined to earn his inaugural win this year.

“Hopefully, 2015 goes a lot better than last year did for me,” said Larson, who barely missed qualifying for the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup and ultimately finished 17th in the final standings. “I’d like to get a couple wins and definitely make the Chase, and go for the championship. I think we can do that.”

Larson isn’t the only one thinking that. Team minority owner Felix Sabates made a rather bold prediction when he spoke to the assembled media.

“I’ve never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I’ve been in racing,” Sabates said. “But I’ll guarantee you both of these guys (Larson and McMurray) will be in the Chase.”

Majority team owner Chip Ganassi isn’t one to usually gloat, either, but he echoed Sabates.

“Obviously, Kyle Larson’s development is nothing short of amazing,” Ganassi said. “I want to thank all the people who told us we were bringing him along too fast last year. Thank you for that. It was great to see him win the rookie of the year. We’re very proud of that and look for many more bigger and better things out of him in 2015.”

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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