In this day and age, making one mistake can cost you everything, and utterly ruin your life.
Second chances are hard to come by, and even if they come, things are rarely ever the same.
But after being suspended for almost an entire year, this NASCAR driver just defied the odds by returning to Victory Lane.
After the first four races of the 2020 season, the NASCAR Cup Series was shut down for over two months thanks to COVID-19.
During that break Kyle Larson was suspended by NASCAR for the remainder of the season and fired by Chip Ganassi Racing, after he used a racial slur during an iRacing live stream.
Larson’s career – and life – was in jeopardy, and with the current climate, no one knew for sure whether or not he would be able to make it back to the top echelon of motorsports.
After going above and beyond to earn his way back, NASCAR’s greatest team of all-time, Hendrick Motorsports, took a chance on Larson.
And in the fourth race of 2021, Larson has returned to Victory Lane for the first time since October 2019.
That's 20 winning Cup drivers for @TeamHendrick!@ReganSmith talks with @KyleLarsonRacin after victory No. 1 with his new team: pic.twitter.com/ikOhOQBtWE
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 7, 2021
“You know, I guess I didn’t know if I’d ever have an opportunity to win a NASCAR race again,” Larson said after the race. “And then, to get this awesome opportunity with Hendrick Motorsports, and Mr. H [Rick Hendrick] taking a massive chance on me, and then going out and being strong all year, has been great.”
“It’s cool to get a win this early in the year, and now focus ahead and try to win a lot more, rack up playoff points, and put yourselves in a good spot once the playoffs start,” Larson continued.
Larson’s win in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked his first career Cup Series win on a 1.5-mile track and the seventh win of his career.
Throughout the race, Larson’s number five Chevrolet was one of the top cars in the field, but as the race went on, his car became the class of the field.
Ultimately, Larson was able to pull away in the final green-flag run, finish over three seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski in second place, and over six seconds ahead of two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch in third.
Throughout his suspension, there were many questions being asked about Kyle Larson, but one thing that’s never been in question is his talent.
By winning in just his fourth start with a new team and after almost a year away from stock cars, Larson was able to prove once again that he is one of the most talented drivers in all of motorsports.
And at just 28-years-old, there’s no doubt that the future is bright for Larson at Hendrick Motorsports.
After all, Hendrick Motorsports has produced 13 Cup Series championships over the past 26 seasons, and have now helped 20 different drivers reach Victory Lane, but none have done so in as few races as Kyle Larson now has.
With a win and thus a playoff berth already under his belt, watch for Kyle Larson to be a major factor in the championship battle through the championship race at Phoenix Raceway in November.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date with this ongoing story.