ELK GROVE, CA (September 8, 2019) – Ahead of the final race of the NASCAR regular season, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) star, Kyle Larson, competed in four straight nights on dirt. Monday and Tuesday, the Elk Grove, Calif., native swept the Kyle Larson Outlaw Kart Showcase presented by McDonald’s at Cycleland Speedway in Chico after starting from the rear of the field in both feature events. In Wednesday’s Stoops Pursuit at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Ind., Larson was literally the last man standing to claim a thrilling victory. In Thursday’s BC39 finale, Larson rebounded from early tire issues to score a top-10 finish.
Following his runner-up score in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Larson boarded a plane for the Golden State. He kicked off the Outlaw Kart Showcase by earning quick time in round two of Open Division qualifying and winning his heat race. The top 10 qualifiers of each round of time trials were locked into a fully inverted $1,000-to-win feature event. Larson started 20th and was inside the top-10 by lap 2. By the halfway point of the race, he had advanced to the runner-up position and with four laps remaining, Larson claimed the lead to pick up his first victory of the week.
Tuesday night, Larson won the Open Division dash which earned him the pole starting spot for the 40-lap Outlaw Kart Showcase feature event. The pilot of the McDonald’s No. 1k elected to start from the rear of the field and quickly made his way towards the front. He was in the runner-up spot by the halfway point of the main event and seized the lead after a restart on lap 30. Larson went on to lead the remaining 10 laps to score back-to-back victories.
Over 2,200 miles away, Larson arrived at The Dirt Track at IMS just in time for the Driven2SaveLives BC39 hot laps on Wednesday. He started sixth in his heat race and finished second, enabling him to score enough points to lock into the Stoops Pursuit. The pilot of the Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 97 started the five-segment, 25-lap Stoops Pursuit and was able to advance and avoid being knocked out in the first four segments.
The final segment came down to Larson, Michael Pickens and Justin Grant and the three battled hard from the start of the final five laps. Going into Turn 3 on the final lap, Pickens drove under Larson, but Pickens’ right rear tire jumped Larson’s right front tire sending Pickens flipping and Larson spinning, allowing Grant to claim the lead. Unfortunately for Grant, his right rear tire hit the wall sending him barrel rolling in the corner. Fortunately for Larson, he was able to keep his KKM No. 97 running and kicked up a cloud of dust to be the only car to cross the finish line.
“That was wild,” Larson exclaimed. “I didn’t know it was going to be that crazy of a race. On the second to last stage, Justin (Grant) got by and then (Jason) McDougal got by, and I knew I needed to get back to second to be able to run that last round. I was really good up top, and I knew if I got a good restart, I could get by Pickens. But this track was so racy that sliders were easy to throw. Michael (Pickens) was throwing everything he had at me. We made contact there on the back stretch. He was trying to park it on the bottom, and I was trying to do what I did the lap before, two laps before. I was bummed I couldn’t make it last year. I saw how exciting it was and said, ‘screw it, I’m going to try to make it.’ I made it to the Indy airport at 4:45 just in time for hot laps. It was worth it, though. I hope we can be up here again tomorrow.”
The following night, Larson started fourth in his qualifier and finished third. He earned enough points in the preliminary events to lock himself into the Driven2SaveLives BC39 39-lap feature event, where he started 12th. Larson quickly started making his way forward and was in the runner-up spot by lap 20. Unfortunately, on lap 29, Larson went to complete a slide job on leader Zeb Wise, but didn’t complete it, resulting in a flat tire. His KKM team quickly made repairs to Larson’s No. 97 and he returned to the track. After restarting from the rear of the field, he was able to climb back through the pack to score a ninth-place finish.
Larson will be back to play in the dirt one last time this Wednesday at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the Elk Grove Ford Midgets in the 49er Gold Rush Classic.