Kyle Larson has a new crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but it took a while before the driver actually had his first-face-to-face meeting with Chad Johnston, the successor to Chris Heroy on the pit box for the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy.
The delay was understandable. Larson sped through a whirlwind offseason where, among other things, he competed in the Chili Bowl, the premier event for Midget cars, in Tulsa, OK. Johnston, who comes to Ganassi after two years as Tony Stewart’s crew chief, paid a visit to the simulator with Larson, who will start his third full season in Cup racing in February.
“He could see my driving style a little bit, even though the simulator isn’t quite (the same as on-track driving),” Larson told the NASCAR Wire Service a day before he begins his defense of the Rolex 24 title he won with Jamie McMurray, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan last year. “We went through some changes, and the communication was nice. He’s a really good guy, really quiet, calm and focused. So I think we’ll be really good.”
Johnston’s experience with Stewart should translate well to Larson’s effort. “Me and Tony, I feel like aside from attitude, have a pretty similar feel as far as driving race cars and how we communicate about race cars,” Larson said. “So I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a transition, but you don’t really know until it actually happens.”