Kyle Larson has signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE from the 2021 season onward.
The No. 5 car will replace the No. 88 in the Hendrick Motorsports lineup after Alex Bowman made the move to the No. 48 car for next season. Hendrick has yet to lock down a sponsor for Larson and the No. 5 Camaro ZL1 1LE for 2021.
Kyle Larson was dropped from Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended from NASCAR after he used a racial slur during a live-streamed iRacing event in April. Chevrolet also suspended the 28-year old indefinitely over the controversy and released a statement saying it does “not tolerate,” such behaviour from its drivers.
The Asian-American, who rose through the ranks through NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, completed sensitivity training at NASCAR’s direction and was reinstated by the sporting body earlier this month. In a statement, NASCAR said Larson “fulfilled the requirements set by NASCAR, and has taken several voluntary measures, to better educate himself so that he can use his platform to help bridge the divide in our country.”
“Kyle has done important work over the past six months, and Hendrick Motorsports is going to support those continued efforts,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a prepared statement.
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) October 28, 2020
Larson, meanwhile, said he wants to continue to improve and learn from his past mistakes whilst also delivering on the kind of performances that will be expected from him at Hendrick.
“Hendrick Motorsports is a championship organization that has set a high bar for performance and for how its drivers represent the team and its partners,” Larson said. “My goal is to win races, be a great teammate, continue my personal efforts to grow, and hold myself to that high standard personally and professionally. Making the absolute most of this platform and the opportunity in front of me is my focus. I know what’s expected of me and what I expect of myself, on and off the track.”
The No. 5 car has a rich history at Hendrick Motorsports. It was the original number campaigned by Hendrick when he founded the team in 1984 and taken 38 wins in total, including many in the hands of famous drivers such as Jeff Bodine, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd.
“The ‘5’ is special to me. It’s the original,” Hendrick said. “I view it as Hendrick Motorsports’ flagship team in a lot of ways. To bring the car back to the racetrack is meaningful for my family and for many of our team members and fans.”