Dirt racing roundup: Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet score wins over weekend

Tim Aylwin/All-Star Circuit of Champions

Kyle Larson led all 25 laps in the A Main to win Sunday’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions race at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas.

It was the second victory this season and 11th of his career in the 410 winged sprint car series for Larson, who beat Zeb Wise. Cory Eliason, whom Larson passed for the lead on the opening lap, took third ahead of Dominic Scelzi.

Three-time champion Tony Stewart, who owns the All Star Circuit, finished fifth in the A main after winning a heat race.

KYLE LARSON’S FUTURE: Driver says Outlaws in his plans

“That was a lot of fun. I just want to thank all of the fans for coming out and supporting this race,” said Larson, who has been concentrating on racing sprint cars for the past month since being indefinitely suspended by NASCAR. “It definitely feels good to be out here racing sprint cars.

“I knew I needed to be aggressive at the start because it was a shorter race. I was able to get the lead on the first lap and then I just followed the cushion.”

Larson, who earned $5,000 for the victory, finished second Friday to points leader Aaron Reutzel in the series’ A Main at Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker, Oklahoma.

In other dirt racing over the weekend:

WORLD OF OUTLAWS: Brad Sweet swept a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.

After a last-lap pass on Sheldon Haudenschild for the victory Friday night, Sweet led the final 30 laps of Saturday’s 40-lap main event and beat 10-time series champion Donny Schatz by nearly 2 seconds on the 0.333-mile track.

Brad Sweet celebrates after his sweep Saturday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

“You don’t know how many times I’d lead a race until 25-30 laps in and he’d (Schatz) go driving by me,” Sweet said in a World of Outlaws release. “I wouldn’t call him a mentor because he didn’t tell me his secrets, but years and years of studying him is why we’re standing here. I feel like we got a little bit of an edge right now. He’s going to push his team and we’re going to push our team. It’s going to be a heck of a battle this year.”

With his back-to-back wins, the defending series champion reclaimed the points lead from Logan Schuchart (21st Saturday). Sweet is 28 points ahead of Schatz, who moved past Schuchart into second in the standings. Schuchart is ranked third, 36 points behind the leader.

Kasey Kahne, Sweet’s teammate and car owner, led the first 10 laps of Saturday’s main event and finished ninth.

The Outlaws Sprint Car Series will return to Knoxville Raceway in Iowa this weekend to race before a socially distanced crowd Friday and Saturday.

ELDORA SPEEDWAY: Tim McCreadie triumphed in the 67-lap A feature of the Dirt Late Model Stream at Eldora Speedway. Bobby Pierce finished second after starting 17th, and Brandon Sheppard was third.

The event at the half-mile dirt track was held without spectators.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)