Kyle Larson on new crew chief: ‘Some kind of change’ needed when you don’t win
Despite not winning in his first two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, Kyle Larson believes he had “a lot” of success with crew chief Chris Heroy.
That level of success - zero wins, 10 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes in two season wasn’t enough for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team announced Heroy was no longer with the organization and was being replaced by Tony Stewart’s crew chief, Chad Johnston.
“But I think since we hadn’t won yet, the people in the shop wanted to make a change,” Larson said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.” “As much as I’m going to miss (Heroy), I support it. You have to make some kind of change, I guess, if you haven’t won. I don’t think he’s the reason we hadn’t won. I think a change has to come. I’m excited about having Chad Johnston be the leader of our team now.
Larson won the Rookie of the Year in 2014 after driving the No. 42 to eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. But his sophomore year saw both those numbers fall to two and 10 respectively. Larson’s best finish was third in the spring race at Dover International Speedway. He wouldn’t finish in the top five again until Sunday’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I hope next year we can be fast and get a couple of wins,” Larson said.
The only win Larson earned in 2015 was the Xfinity Series finale. He has four NASCAR wins, three in Xfinity and one in the Camping World Truck Series, but he was not eligible for points in any of them.
Heroy’s departure isn’t the only change being made in the No. 42 shop. Motorsport.com reported that race engineer Randall Burnett would be leaving to crew chief the No. 47 of AJ Allmendinger at JTG/Daugherty Racing.
Larson said these kinds of moves are usually in the works two to three months in advance.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of guys that are coming here that I haven’t heard about or met or anything,” Larson said after stating Johnston would be introduced to the team later in the day. “I’ll probably start seeing news faces showing up and also leaving. I think that’s how every race team works and those are things you can expect at the end of season. Every race team is trying to develop and find newer, smarter people. I hope all the changes that we make add improvements to our team.”