Elk Grove Native Kyle Larson Comes Home to Race in Sonoma

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SONOMA -- NASCAR is roaring into Sonoma this weekend as it does every June.

This year, Elk Grove native Kyle Larson is racing in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Larson has done more than just win a lot of races this season -- he's changing the face of the sport itself.

"A lot of us young guys have been running good this year, so it's a great time to sort of step up and show the sport and the fans that we can take it over, or not necessarily take it over, but to be the next face for NASCAR," Larson said Friday.

Larson is fresh off his second cup victory of the season in Michigan last weekend.

With the retirement of several popular drivers in the last few years -- Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and, soon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- the sport may have found its future in Larson, who is just 24.

"I think he's the guy to step into the role," racing fan Matt Ricci said. "Like I said, he's a family man, he's a good kid."

"He's up and coming. He fits with the big boys," fan Mark Manibusan said. "He's very respectful and I like the way he races."

Larson isn't just connecting with fans. He's found success on the track this season with a total of five wins between the two NASCAR series he races in, and a whopping six second-place finishes at the cup level.

"Throughout the off-season, we just got our cars a lot better, and that's allowed me to not over-drive as much and make mistakes. That part has been cool, driving fast race cars and contending every week in this series is a big deal. It's just been a really, really fun year," Larson said.