MOORESVILLE, N.C. (December 24, 2019) – It seems there’s no stopping Kyle Larson and Paul Silva this off season. The duo swept the Gateway Dirt Nationals this weekend at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo., picking up the win in Friday night’s preliminary event as well as being victorious in Saturday’s finale.
On Friday, the Elk Grove, Calif., native was the second quickest qualifier of the night and won his heat race. After starting the 20-lap feature event from the outside of the front row, Larson slipped back as far as fourth in the opening circuits. After a couple of cautions and restarts, he was able to regain some positions and settled in the runner-up spot. In the closing laps, the pilot of the Lucas Oil/ iRacing/ Finley Farms No. 1k was able to close the gap on the leader and took over the lead on lap 16. He led the remaining four circuits to pick up his first victory of the weekend.
“I just was doing such a bad job on the restarts,” said Larson in Victory Lane. “I just couldn’t take off and then it would take me a couple of laps to get going. Eventually, I was able to get by Michael [Pickens] and keep my momentum up to keep him from sliding me back when I got to the lead. It was a fun race. The track is rough and technical but fun, I had to work hard for that one.”
With Friday night’s victory, Larson was locked into Saturday’s finale and lined up to start fifth for the 30-lap feature event. He didn’t waste any time working his way towards the front of the pack and was settled in the runner-up spot by lap six. Nine laps later, Larson claimed the lead and survived a flurry of cautions in the second half of the race to win the midget portion of the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
“I actually felt pretty good from the start when the track was smoother,” said Larson. “I felt like I could run a lot of throttle through the corners. The track started getting slicker as the race went on and it actually made it a little bit easier to get through the holes and I was able to get a good rhythm going there that last run. Thanks to Lucas Oil and iRacing and everyone else that helps on this team, I couldn’t do it without them, so it has been a pleasure to drive.”
Larson is currently headed to New Zealand for the International Midget Series, spanning six races at three different tracks.