Photo by: Shot360 Photography
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 7, 2020) – A busy off-season of racing continued for Kyle Larson in New Zealand with an eventful two weeks of action. The NASCAR Cup Series star was scheduled to make six starts across three different tracks in the United Truck Parts International Midget Series but took a hard tumble in the opening night of competition. After being sidelined for the next two events, Larson returned on New Year’s Day and claimed victory before earning two more podium finishes in the final pair of races.
Larson kicked off the International Midget Series at Western Springs Speedway in Auckland, NZ for the Boxing Day Bash. He finished second from ninth in his first heat race, before winning his second heat race. The Elk Grove, Calif., native was one of three drivers named to the USA International Team and won the first team event of the night. After finishing sixth in the second team race, Larson was racing for the lead in the third and final team race of the night and clipped the wall causing a violent flip.
Fortunately, Larson was okay after his accident but sat out for the following two events at Baypark Raceway in Mount Maunganui, NZ and the 30 Lap Derby back at Western Springs Speedway while repairs were made to his Harley Taylor 1USA.
The 27-year-old started off the New Year by climbing back behind the wheel at Huntly International Speedway in Huntly, NZ. He advanced four spots in his first heat race to finish fifth and claimed a runner-up result in his second heat race. After starting sixth in the 40-lapper, Larson fell back early, but worked his way back up. He was able to catch some good breaks towards the end and eventually take home the win.
Two nights later, at Western Springs Speedway, Larson finished ninth from 11th in Heat 3. He followed that up by picking up the win in Heat 5. After starting seventh in the 40-lap King of the Springs feature, he quickly started making moves and advanced to the runner-up spot by Lap 6. Larson made a couple of charges for the top spot but ultimately finished second.
In his final International Midget Series start of the season, the pilot of the Harley Taylor 1USA set quick time at Western Springs Speedway for the World Midget 50 Lapper. While running third in the A Dash, Larson spun but rallied back to earn the seventh starting spot for the 50-lap feature event. The early part of the main event was plagued with cautions, but the final 41 laps went caution free. After slipping back early, Larson was able to work his way forward to finish his New Zealand tour with a third-place finish.
“It was another great trip to New Zealand,” said Larson. “It was definitely more eventful than normal but still a successful visit. We were able to get some redemption after my hard wreck on the first night by picking up the win to start off the year. I can’t thank Harley and Abbey Taylor enough for their hospitality and always providing a fast car. I’m already looking forward to coming back.”
Larson will be back in action next week at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in his Kyle Larson Racing/ Lucas Oil/ iRacing No. 1k.