Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Always Good to Have a Back Up Plan

Don't get me wrong, as long as Jimmie Johnson is racing, he'll be my number one driver but it is always good to have a back-up and Kyle Larson is it for me.

After a few years of less than thrilling Rookie of the Year contests, I can't wait for 2014 and what I hope will be an epic battle between Kyle Larson and Austen Dillon. Perhaps, the 2013 Eldora Mudsummer Classic truck race gave us a preview of what's to come with these two. Ultimately, Austen won that race but in my opinion, Kyle was much the most exciting driver to watch as he sliced through the field, pulling off classic slide jobs.

Perhaps they are evenly matched in talent although Austen has the edge in both experience in stock cars and resources but I hope the determination that comes from having had to scrap for every bit of success he's had will make up the difference for Kyle. It will be the fairy tale about the Prince and the Pauper. Will the kid with the silver spoon prevail over the tough little street fighter? We shall see.

The 23-year-old half-Japanese driver began racing go-karts when he was seven, then switched to open wheel where he made quite a name for himself. In 2011, he won in three types of USAC cars in one night at Eldora, only the second driver to accomplish that feat. He won the K&N Pro Series championship in 2012. He won the Nationwide Rookie of the Year in 2013. Now he'll be moving to Sprint Cup, taking over Juan Pablo Montoya's previous ride.

I always tend to side with the underdogs. Of course, some people say, "hah, and you a Jimmie Johnson fan!" but Jimmie was the underdog when he started. You might liken Austen and Kyle to Dale Junior and Jimmie. The lower-middle class kid who had to make it on his own versus Nascar royalty.

Just like I side with Jimmie but like Dale a lot, I will side with Kyle although I respect Austen as well. Either one can win. I'm just hoping for a lot of entertainment for us fans along the way with these two, both of whom I think are capable of being the super-stars of their era.

Plan A = A Seven Up for Jimmie

Plan B = The Kyle/Austen match up.