Kyle Larson is back in the NASCAR Cup Series, but he clearly faces an uphill climb toward marketability.
Larson will drive the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro this season, his first since being reinstated by NASCAR. The 28-year-old was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended by NASCAR last year after using a racial slur during a Twitch stream of an iRacing event.
Despite Larson’s best efforts, the stain from that incident persists. The No. 5 team recently revealed NationsGuard as primary sponsor for the 2021 season’s first three races but, beyond that, their sponsorship situation remains unclear.
Check out this graphic, posted to r/NASCAR, showing Hendrick’s sponsor schedule this year:
It probably is safe to assume that Larson will fill out that chart as the season progresses, but there’s no denying the challenges he and Hendrick Motorsports currently face.
Larson and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series will begin the 2021 season Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500.