Kyle Larson Wants to Retire from NASCAR While Still in His ‘Prime’
Kyle Larson is still likely many years away from his NASCAR retirement, but the 31-year-old Cup champion recently said he wants to leave the sport before his age becomes a factor. In an interview with former Cup driver Kenny Wallace, Larson suggested he won’t be like other drivers who don’t hang up their helmets until well after their 40th birthday.
“I don’t see myself going to 40 (years old),” Larson told Wallace. “But that’s not me retiring from racing.”
Instead, Larson said he wants to pursue other career accomplishments. The 2021 Cup champion, known for his desire to race just about anything with four wheels, wants to pursue opportunities outside of NASCAR before age becomes an inhibiting factor.
“There’s a lot of stuff I still want to accomplish while I’m in my prime,” he said. “I’m 31 right now. I’m going into my 11th season in the Cup Series. So, I’ve already been in it a while. So in my eyes, if I can race another seven or eight years, I can earn a lot of money, I can set myself up really well, and I can…still be in my prime, hopefully, and go compete in for a career dirt series championship.”
Larson is already pursuing one major career accomplishment this year outside of NASCAR. The Elk Grove, California, driver will compete in this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren. Larson will join a short list of drivers who have pulled “double duty” in running the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
“What’s important to me is still getting to go do and try to accomplish some big things while having time to do it down the road while I’m still close to my prime,” he said.
Still, Larson says he still has many years before leaving the NASCAR ranks. He also wants to quell any suggestions he doesn’t enjoy competing in the sport — he is still “loving” NASCAR competition, he said. If that remains the case when he’s 40-years-old, he may continue in the sport.
If Larson remains competitive over the next eight or nine seasons and leaves NASCAR, it could be considered an early retirement. His comments came in response to Wallace listing off a host of drivers, like Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, who retired a few years after their 40th birthday over the last decade. All had surpassed their proverbial primes, and apparently Larson doesn’t want to join their ranks in retiring too late.