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Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne will race at Knoxville with Outlaws

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The World of Outlaws confirmed to NBCSports.com Tuesday afternoon that NASCAR veterans Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne will race when the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returns Friday at Knoxville Raceway.

Larson was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for using a racial slur during an iRacing event last month. The World of Outlaws said he would be permitted to return to racing in its series after completing sensitivity training.

An Outlaws spokesman said Tuesday that Larson met the needed requirements to race in its series.

COLUMN: Why Kyle Larson’s NASCAR return will be difficult

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR. A spokesman confirmed Tuesday that NASCAR won’t have further updates on Larson until he has completed its sensitivity training and has been reinstated.

RACER’s Kelly Crandall initially reported the news in a tweet that Larson had been invited to race at Knoxville after being cleared by the Outlaws.

The event at Knoxville will be closed to the public but will be televised via pay-per-view streaming on DIRTVision.

The World of Outlaws released revised schedules Tuesday through mid-June for its sprint car and late model series. Several races will include limited, socially distanced crowds.

Kahne, who retired from NASCAR after the 2018 season, will be racing for Kasey Kahne Racing. His sprint car team announced Monday that he’d be in the No. 9 car for “one night only.” He hasn’t raced in the Outlaws since being injured in a crash a year ago at Williams Grove Speedway.

Larson also has his own sprint car team that races full time on the World of Outlaws circuit. According to a tweet from the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, he will be racing the No. 57 at Knoxville.

A multiple-time winner in the series, Larson had moonlighted in dirt racing while competing in NASCAR’s premier series since 2014.

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.