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Why NASCAR’s Kyle Larson is Not a Fan of “Awkward” Celebrity Meet-And-Greets
"I don’t really like meeting celebrities because I feel like ... they don’t want to meet me, so then I don’t really care to have that awkward interaction," Larson revealed.
Besides their impressive work behind the wheel, lucrative commercial and cinema cameos and a dizzying amount of brand partnerships can lead to successful NASCAR Cup Series drivers like Jeff Gordon or recently retired Kevin Harvick remaining cemented in the hearts and minds of fans for decades.
Combine that with the fact that only 40 drivers can compete in a race at a time, and it’s easy to see how NASCAR produces figures of near-mythological status like Dale Earnhardt, who will be forever loved and admired by a global fandom.
RELATED: Kyle Larson Doesn't Miss Living in California, Except for This One Thing
While most drivers recognize the symbiotic nature of their relationship with fans, sometimes certain aspects of fame, as Kyle Larson has pointed out, can become cumbersome when celebrities who may not necessarily be racing fans are brought into the mix.
Larson, who usually loves embracing his legions of fervent fans, didn’t mince words as he pointed out why the league’s manufactured meetings at race tracks between celebrities and drivers like himself can be a drag.
What did Kyle Larson say about meeting celebrities at NASCAR events?
“I don’t really like meeting celebrities because I feel like, and who knows, maybe they want to meet us drivers or me personally but, in my mind, I feel like they don’t want to meet me, so then I don’t really care to have that awkward interaction,” Larson revealed on an episode of Garage Guys NASCAR Betting, hosted by Chase Holden and Dale Tanhardt.
“I hate the meet-and-greets where NASCAR will bring a celebrity or a trailer because I’ve been in those moments where it’s like you’re getting dragged around to go meet people, and you don’t really care to meet them," Larson continued. "So, I imagine that’s what they’re feeling, and then it’s just so awkward [of an] interaction, and it’s kind of just fake. I prefer to just sit in the hauler with my team and people I’m comfortable with, and [I] don’t care to really like meet people in that environment."
It's not that Larson doesn’t appreciate meeting celebrities, it’s just that the nature of forced interactions on his turf when he’s gearing up for competition can make him uneasy. But the California native isn't opposed to linking up with notable figures off the track.
“I guess, away from the race track, if I’m going to meet somebody, I would more prefer that, but at the race track, I don’t know, it’s just always awkward,” added the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champ. “I don’t want anything to be forced, and I feel like that’s how a lot of things are on a race weekend because time is limited, and everything is quick. So, it’s just quick, awkward and you never really know if they want to meet you or not, and sometimes, yes, you can tell they care to meet you and are really fascinated by our sport, but a lot of times, you just don’t get that authentic, genuine interaction.”
Is there any celebrity Kyle Larson would want to meet at a NASCAR event?
When asked if there's any celebrity he'd like to have at one of his Cup Series events, Larson gave a brutal, one word answer: “None." He added, “I don’t care. I guess if I knew that somebody was a legit fan of our sport or myself, if I learned about that, then yeah, I would love to invite people to the races. But I don’t follow celebrities at all to even know which ones appreciate our sport. ... I just don’t want anything to ever be forced.”
“I don’t want somebody to pay them to come to our race,” he bluntly added. “I want them to come because they want to come. ... I just don’t really care to meet celebrities in general. ... Our sport is badass, and I think if people would just open their horizon to watch, they would fall in love just like we did."