Team owner Chip Ganassi confirmed Friday that 21-year-old Kyle Larson will take over driving the No. 42 Chevrolet next year in NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series.
Ganassi and Larson, of Elk Grove, Calif., made the announcement together at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of the next Sprint Cup race on Sunday.
"He's a unique talent," Ganassi said of Larson, who will replace veteran Juan Pablo Montoya in the car next season. "Kyle was our first choice, we did not offer deals to any other drivers."
Larson is a highly touted driver who began racing stock cars only two years ago after widespread success racing midget cars, sprints and other open-wheel race cars around the nation. Larson this year is a rookie in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series.
Both he and Ganassi -- a co-owner of the team that's officially called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates -- discounted any suggestion that Larson was not ready for NASCAR's premier series.
"I feel like I'm ready," Larson said. "I think I can do it. I'd like to prove the people who don't think I'm ready for it wrong.
"I'm not one to pay attention to all the hype or all the pressure that other people put on me," Larson said. "I just do the best I can. I think I'll learn a ton and enjoy it quite a bit."
Ganassi said they also planned for Larson to continue running as many races as possible in the Nationwide Series again next year in addition to his Cup races.
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