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Kyle Larson
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Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell wreck in first night of New Zealand midget races

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Kyle Larson had an eventful day after Christmas down in New Zealand.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, as well as Christopher Bell, began a series of midget and sprint car races with Day 1 of the United Truck Parts International Midget Series at Western Springs Speedway.

Larson finished second in the third heat race and won the fifth heat race and the first United States vs New Zealand vs Australia Test Race. 

But both Larson and Bell’s night ended before they got a chance to compete in the midget feature race. Larson lost control and flipped multiple times with two laps left in another of the Test Races.

Larson had to lay on the ground after the incident, but his team announced on Twitter that he was OK.

Larson’s flip was quickly followed by Bell flipping as well, eliminating him and depriving the feature race of both of the NASCAR stars.

Round 2 of the United Truck Parts International Midget Series is Dec. 28 at Baypark Speedway with the 40 lap Gold Cup.

Kyle Larson’s holiday dirt racing schedule

Kyle Larson
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There’s no such thing as an offseason for Kyle Larson.

While other NASCAR drivers may go into racing hibernation once Champion’s Week is over, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver keeps his side gig going as he continues his passion in dirt racing.

Larson is once again in for a busy holiday season of racing and that begins Friday night when he takes part in his preliminary midget race in the Gateway Dirt Nationals.

Should he advance, the main event for the Nationals will be Saturday night.

After that, Larson will immediately fly nearly halfway around the world to New Zealand where he will again take part in the six-round United Truck Parts World Midget Series, which goes through the beginning of the new year.

Once he returns to the United States, Larson is scheduled to compete in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But then it will be back overseas for Larson as he takes part in four nights of sprint car racing in Australia.

After all that, Larson will be back in a stock car. His first NASCAR action of the year will be in practice for the Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 8.

Here’s Larson’s complete schedule for the next five-plus weeks:

Dec. 20: Gateway Dirt Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri (midget)

Dec. 26: Boxing Day Bash at Western Springs Speedway in Auckland, New Zealand (midget)

Dec. 28: Baypark Speedway in Tauranga for the 40 lap Gold Cup (midget)

Dec. 30: World 30 Lap Derby at Western Springs Speedway (midget)

Jan. 1: International Midget Series 40 Lapper at Huntly Speedway (midget)

Jan. 3:  King of the Springs at Western Springs Speedway (midget)

Jan. 5: World 50 Lap Classic at Western Springs Speedway (midget)

Jan. 13 – 18: Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma (midget)

Jan. 22: President’s Cup at Avalon Raceway in Lara, Victoria, Australia (sprint)

Jan 23: King’s Challenge at Borderline Speedway in Mount Gambier, South Australia (sprint)

Jan 24-26: Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia (sprint)

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NASCAR wants no ‘muzzle’ on Kyle Larson’s love of dirt racing

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CHARLOTTE – NASCAR’s new president has a new policy for Kyle Larson: Speak your mind about what you love.

After the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said last month that he planned “to just keep my mouth shut” about his moonlighting in sprint cars because it angers NASCAR and its fans, Steve Phelps extended an olive branch Wednesday afternoon.

Phelps, who was announced as NASCAR’s new president last week, told reporters that stock-car racing’s major leagues need to do a better job of outreach to its grassroots tracks, the World of Outlaws and other forms of motorsports because “we can help each other.

“We may be at the pinnacle of (short-track) racing from a popularity standpoint, but we can learn from them, they can learn from us, and we can promote each other in a far better way,” Phelps said during an hourlong interview with nearly two dozen media members at NASCAR Plaza. “So this notion of NASCAR trying to muzzle Kyle Larson and his love of racing couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We want Kyle Larson to talk about NASCAR racing and dirt racing and things that are his passion. We think he can bring his fan base from other forms of racing that he’s doing to us. And we can take our fans and bring them down to that racing as well, so we all get stronger by doing something.”

In January, Larson said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that winning the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals would mean more than the Daytona 500, which drew blowback on social media. During the Aug. 10-12 weekend when he commuted between Michigan International Speedway and the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa, Larson said his love of dirt racing “still made plenty of waves” within NASCAR.

Phelps said Wednesday that his industry needs to take a much less strident tone toward competing series and rebuild its bridges with feeder series and other auto racing disciplines that have proved to be avenues to NASCAR. Both Larson and rising star Christopher Bell made their names in dirt racing on the way into NASCAR, which has been reminiscent of past champions Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

“I totally agree that’s something we need to do, that will be part of the event promotion we’re looking at with our racetracks is if you look at the dirt event in Las Vegas, it was very successful,” Phelps said. “Kevin Harvick and I have had this conversation, he’s a champion for that whether it’s Bakersfield, or just in general what’s happening from short-track racing.

“What I would say is we need to reach out to home tracks. We need to reach out to World of Outlaws and other forms of motorsports because we can help each other. If someone is a fan of racing, we believe they can be a fan of all racing.”

K&N Pro Series West 2018 schedule includes Las Vegas dirt race

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The 2018 K&N Pro Series West schedule includes the series’ first dirt race in 39 years.

NASCAR announced the 15-race schedule Monday, revealing the series will race on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Sept. 13.

The race will kick off NASCAR’s playoff-opening weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for all three of its national series.

It will be the series’ first dirt race since 1979 at Ascot Park in Gardena, California. The K&N West series joins the Camping World Truck Series in holding one dirt race a year. The Trucks race at Eldora Speedway in July.

The K&N West season will open March 15 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.

The schedule includes two joint-races with the K&N Pro Series East series. They will be held on July 27 at Iowa Speedway and on Aug. 24 at Illinois’ Gateway Motorsports Park.

NBCSN’s broadcast schedule for the season will be announced at a later date.

Below is the full schedule.

Date Track Location
15-Mar Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.
5-May Tucson Speedway* Tucson, Ariz.
19-May Orange Show Speedway San Bernardino, Calif.
9-Jun Colorado National Speedway Dacona, Colo.
23-Jun Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.
30-Jun Douglas County Speedway Roseburg, Ore.
15-Jul Spokane County Raceway Airway Heights, Wash.
27-Jul Iowa Speedway** Newtown, Iowa
11-Aug Evergreen Speedway Monroe, Wash.
24-Aug Gateway Motorsports Park** Madison, Ill.
13-Sep Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track Las Vegas, Nev.
29-Sep Meridian Speedway Meridian, Idaho
13-Oct All American Speedway Roseville, Calif.
27-Oct Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield, Calif.

*100-lap twin features
**Combination event with NASCAR K&N Pro Series East