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Kyle Larson covets Chili Bowl over Daytona 500, but still wants to win ‘Great American Race’

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Kyle Larson was “heartbroken” when he lost the 2017 Daytona 500.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver declared that Thursday morning on Twitter, clarifying comments he made Wednesday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “SiriusXM Speedway.”

Larson, who is competing in the 32nd annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said the Chili Bowl meant more to him than the Daytona 500.

“The Chili Bowl is, gosh, like I said it’s up there with the top races I want to win,” Larson said. “Everybody knows I love dirt track racing. For me, the Chili Bowl is bigger than the Daytona 500. I know some fans, that might bum them out or think I have some bad attitude when it comes to NASCAR racing, but I love it. There’s some special dirt races I want to win and Chili Bowl is one of them.”

Larson said this a day after winning the Chili Bowl’s A main on Tuesday night. He’ll race in the 55-lap main event Saturday. He is also fresh off winning three midget races during a tour of New Zealand to start the year.

On Thursday, Larson responded to a fan on Twitter to make sure everyone knows winning the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 would be a big deal for the fifth-year driver.

Larson took the white flag of the Daytona 500 while in the lead. He ran out of gas in Turn 2 and finished 12th.

Larson’s expression of love for a dirt racing event over the “Great American Race” comes after comments he made last month about what he considered his ultimate career goal. Appearing on the official World of Outlaws podcast, the 25-year-old driver said competing full-time in World of Outlaws is his aim.

“NASCAR is where I wanted to make it, but I would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t make it either,” Larson said. “I’d probably be on the Outlaw (sprint car) tour probably right now, racing and loving life … I would say racing on the World of Outlaws tour full-time is my main goal; NASCAR’s just the step to get there.”

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Racing full-time in World of Outlaws remains Kyle Larson’s ultimate career goal

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Kyle Larson wanted to race with his NASCAR racing heroes, but he didn’t need to.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver discussed what his auto racing career goals were last week on the official World of Outlaws podcast, “Open Red.”

The 25-year-old driver was a guest on the show prior to his trip to New Zealand for a six race sprint car tour, which began with proposing to his girlfriend.

Early in the one-hour show, Larson was asked if competing in NASCAR had been always been the ultimate goal for the dirt racer from Elk Grove, California.

He gave an honest answer.

“As everybody knows, there’s a lot of money in the sport (NASCAR), and you know you can make a good living,” Larson said. “So yeah, I wanted to make it to NASCAR. So throughout the 2011 season I had opportunities to go Indy Lights racing and stuff like that, but I just wasn’t into that. I grew up watching Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and you wanted to race with them.”

Larson did get to do that, making his Cup debut in 2013. He’ll head to Daytona in February to start his fifth full-time season in the series.

“NASCAR is where I wanted to make it, but I would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t make it either,” Larson continued. “I’d probably be on the Outlaw (sprint car) tour probably right now, racing and loving life … I would say racing on the World of Outlaws tour full-time is my main goal; NASCAR’s just the step to get there.”

As part of his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, Larson is permitted to compete in 25 dirt races a year. While he won a career-best four Cup races in 2017, he also won multiple times in sprint cars, including six in a row at one point.

While the topic of Larson potentially competing in the Indianapolis 500 has come up multiple times in the last year, it wasn’t Larson’s answer when asked on “Open Red” what forms of racing he’s still eager to give a try.

“I would say a dirt late model is probably at the top of my list of cars I have not yet raced,” Larson said. “There’s plenty of stuff. But then like I said, I only got 25 (sprint car) races. So I’ve got people who approach me asking if I want to run their car and I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I can’t because I want to race the sprint car more.’ It stinks that I have to pick and choose a lot.”

Earlier this month Larson announced he was taking over full ownership of the World of Outlaws team he had co-owned with Justin Marks.

Kyle Larson keeps winning, adds another dirt track triumph; Kasey Kahne second

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2017/06/14/kyle-larson-wins-world-of-outlaws-race/
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Kyle Larson is proving unbeatable regardless of the series or track.

He continued his hot streak Monday night, winning the Ohio Sprint Speedweek race at Wayne County Speedway, a 3/8-mile clay oval in Orrville, Ohio.

The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car victory came after Larson won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Last week, Larson won a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series race at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway.

Kasey Kahne finished second to Larson on Monday night. Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rico Abreu was 18th. Former Cup driver Dave Blaney, father of Cup driver Ryan Blaney, finished 25th in the 26-car field.

The All Star Circuit of Champions is owned by Tony Stewart.

Larson is scheduled to compete in Tuesday’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek race at Sharon Speedway with the All Star Circuit of Champions. The track, located in Hartford, Ohio, is owned by Dave Blaney and associates.

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Kyle Larson wins World of Outlaws race

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Kyle Larson used a late-race charge to win Tuesday night’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series race at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway.

Larson passed Daryn Pittman, who drives for Kasey Kahne‘s team, with two laps to go to win. Larson was racing for a team co-owned by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Shane Stewart, who drives for the team co-owned by Larson and Justin Marks, finished third. Brad Sweet, who drives for Kasey Kahne Racing, placed fourth. Donny Schatz, who drives for Tony Stewart Racing, finished fifth.

Larson was second in qualifying to Kerry Madsen and won his heat race.

The feature victory is Larson’s first of the season.

Click here for more on the race and complete results.

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NASCAR stars spent off week getting in touch with racing roots

Photo: Kyle Larson
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Thanks to comments by Cup driver Kyle Larson and members of the media, there’s been a surge of talk about NASCAR needing to reach grassroots racing fans.

With all of NASCAR enjoying its first full off week, some drivers did their part for the cause last weekend as they fulfilled their need for speed.

Larson himself was one of them, as the Chip Ganassi Racing driver won a Sprint Car Challenge Tour event at Placerville Speedway in California. It was his second race at the 1/4-mile track in the last month. The Cup points leader took his No. 57 car to the lead halfway through the 40-lap race and beat out 15-year-old Giovanni Scelzi according to the Sacramento Bee.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch took his talents to Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina, for a Super Late Model race.

Busch piloted his No. 51b car in the Easter Bunny 150, but it was a short night for the 2015 Cup champion. Busch’s run ended 15 laps into the 150-lap event due to mechanical problems.

Elsewhere, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell competed in Texas.

On Thursday, Kahne started a three-day marathon by finishing 20th in the Gator Outlaw Bash at Gator Motoroplex in Willis, Texas.

The weekend continued with a two-day World of Outlaws event at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas as Kahne was joined by Stewart and Bell.

In Friday’s 25-lap feature, Kahne finished 11th, Stewart placed 14th and Bell finished 18th. Saturday night went about as well for Kahne and Stewart in the 30-lap feature. Kahne finished 16th and Stewart 22nd. Meanwhile, Bell finished fourth as Brad Sweet, a Kasey Kahne Racing driver, won the event.

Aside from Bell and Stewart, these NASCAR drivers will return to their full-time jobs this weekend. The Cup series is back in action at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 on Sunday. While Larson leads the points, Busch is seventh and still seeks his first win of the season.

Kahne is 17th in the standings and is trying to earn his first victory since 2014 (Atlanta).

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