Kyle Larson scored his fifth sprint car victory in seven days, sweeping the World of Outlaws weekend at Knoxville Raceway.
Larson passed Brian Brown for the lead with 17 laps remaining Saturday night, cruising to his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series triumph at the historic dirt half-mile oval in Knoxville, Iowa. Defending series champion Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother-in-law, finished second, and Logan Schuchart was third.
It was the third victory in nine Outlaws feature races this year for Larson, who broke through for his first career win at Knoxville a night earlier.
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“Another good car, just sweet to have five in a row in a sprint car now feels pretty awesome and in front of a great crowd, too, makes it feel even better,” Larson, whose winnings totaled $20,000 for the weekend, told DirtVision in victory lane after his 11th career Outlaws victory. “I wish it was August already. I feel really good.
“It just means a lot to be out here having fun and challenging for wins every night.”
.@dirtvision REPLAY: Kyle Larson drives away from @BradSweet49 to sweep the weekend at @knoxvilleraces! #LiveNOS pic.twitter.com/6CDZYPmDyO
— World of Outlaws (@WorldofOutlaws) June 14, 2020
August traditionally is the month for the Knoxville Nationals, among the most prestigious races in sprint car racing. Larson nearly won the race three years ago but failed to qualify for the feature race last year.
But since focusing on racing Paul Silva’s sprint cars over the past five weeks while on an indefinite suspension from NASCAR for using a racial slur, the Elk Grove, California, native, could be emerging as a favorite to knock off Knoxville as he did the iconic Chili Bowl (which he finally won in January after years of trying).
“It’s a race I’ve always wanted to win,” Larson said of the Knoxville Nationals. “I’ve been close once, really close. Now with me getting to run more sprint car stuff, we’re showing we can get our car even better. We struggled here bad last year and were terrible. We’ve just gotten better and better, and now we’ve hit on something.
“Just proud of Paul and Doug and Jeremy and everybody who has worked on this car, especially this weekend and this week. It’s been a lot of hard work but looking forward to it and looking forward to a ton of more racing here coming up.”
Kyle Larson joins Owen for another wing dance celebration @knoxvilleraces. pic.twitter.com/I2rOADNP2e
— World of Outlaws (@WorldofOutlaws) June 14, 2020
Larson has been unbeatable since his June 7 victory in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions at Park City, Kansas. He again won in the 410 sprint car series owned by Tony Stewart on June 8 in Lawton, Oklahoma and on June 10 in Mesquite, Texas.
He then continued his winning run the past two nights with the Outlaws.
With his 10th career Outlaws sprint car victory, Larson moved into a tie with Danny Smith and Joe Gaerte (the crew chief on Kyle Larson Racing’s No. 2 car for Carson Macedo, who finished fourth Friday) on the series’ all-time win list.
Larson started fourth but inherited the lead on Lap 10 when pole-sitter Daryn Pittman spun after making contact with David Gravel in lapped traffic.
After another caution flag, Larson briefly lost the lead to Brian Brown on a restart and slipped to third behind Sweet a lap later. But he quickly recovered on Lap 14, zooming past both into first. He comfortably led the final 17 laps.
“I took a glance at the big screen on that restart and seen (Brown) was right on me,” Larson said. “I knew he was going to run the top in (turns 3 and 4) and thought if I could get a good 3 and 4, he might not slide me. But I I didn’t get through there like I needed to, and he got the run and got by me. But I knew my car was really good, so I just stayed patient behind him.
“And then Brad, he got to my inside, and thankfully, I cleared him off of 2, otherwise that could have been the deciding factor of the race. But I was able to block him into 3 and nail the bottom for a couple of laps there and get back to Brown and slide him. From then on, my car just felt really, really good.”
Sweet, who won the Knoxville Nationals in 2018, stayed in striking distance of Larson over the final 10 laps.
“He did a really good job,” Sweet said of Larson in a DirtVision interview. “He’s driving really hard. He’s a great race car driver. He runs the car on the ragged edge and makes it work and gets by lapped cars. We’ve just got to pick up our game a little, but we had a great race car tonight, so a lot of great notes moving forward here.”
NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will race a June 19-20 doubleheader at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana, before limited crowds. The races can be watched live online at www.DIRTVision.com, and the June 20 feature also will be on CBS Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [$5,000]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$3,000]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [$2,700]; 5. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,500]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [$2,200]; 7. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$2,000]; 8. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,800]; 9. 18-Ian Madsen [$1,600]; 10. 39-Sammy Swindell [$1,450]; 11. 15-Donny Schatz [$1,300]; 12. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [$1,200]; 13. 17W-Shane Golobic [$1,100]; 14. 7-Tim Kaeding [$1,000]; 15. 39M-Anthony Macri [$950]; 16. 17A-Austin McCarl [$900]; 17. 7X-Justin Henderson [$850]; 18. 83-Daryn Pittman [$750]; 19. 41-David Gravel [$725]; 20. 14-Parker Price-Miller [$700]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [$700]; 22. 56N-Davey Heskin [$700]; 23. 55-Hunter Schuerenburg [$700]; 24. 83R-Lynton Jeffrey [$700]; Lap Leaders: Daryn Pittman 1-9; Kyle Larson 10, 14-30; Brian Brown 11-13; KSE Hard Charger Award: 39-Sammy Swindell[+10]
Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 2-Carson Macedo, 15.09; 2. 1A-Jacob Allen, 15.097; 3. 24-Rico Abreu, 15.26; 4. 55M-McKenna Haase, 15.31; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri, 15.392; 6. 18-Ian Madsen, 15.414; 7. 21-Brian Brown, 15.505; 8. 56N-Davey Heskin, 15.625; 9. 83R-Lynton Jeffrey, 15.648; 10. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 15.715; 11. 15-Donny Schatz, 15.721; 12. 20-A.J. Moeller, 15.747; 13. 5-Brent Marks, 15.763; 14. 71-Shane Stewart, 15.785; 15. 44S-Trey Starks, 15.79; 16. O9-Matt Juhl, 15.824; 17. 41-David Gravel, 15.85; 18. 55-Hunter Schuerenburg, 15.879; 19. 2KS-Chad Boespflug, 15.921; 20. 33M-Mason Daniel, 15.929; 21. 35-Zach Hampton, 15.943; 22. 9-Kasey Kahne, 15.962; 23. 17W-Shane Golobic, 16.005; 24. 6-Bill Rose, 16.027; 25. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 16.052; 26. 56-Joe Simbro, 16.075; 27. 14K-Tori Knutson, 17.114
Qualifying Flight-B – 1. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 15.679; 2. 57-Kyle Larson, 15.734; 3. 5X-Gio Scelzi, 15.871; 4. 49-Brad Sweet, 15.896; 5. 83-Daryn Pittman, 15.901; 6. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 15.925; 7. 7X-Justin Henderson, 15.96; 8. 39-Sammy Swindell, 15.986; 9. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 16.003; 10. 17A-Austin McCarl, 16.049; 11. R44-Jeff Swindell, 16.099; 12. 3-Jac Haudenschild, 16.128; 13. 4-Terry McCarl, 16.158; 14. 7BC-Tyler Courtney, 16.162; 15. 7-Tim Kaeding, 16.217; 16. 15M-Bobby Mincer, 16.217; 17. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 16.236; 18. 3P-Sawyer Phillips, 16.274; 19. 49J-Josh Schneiderman, 16.326; 20. 7TAZ-Tasker Phillips, 16.333; 21. 13-Mark Dobmeier, 16.357; 22. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer, 16.381; 23. 7S-Jason Sides, 16.445; 24. 44-Chris Martin, 16.466; 25. 9W-Ryan Giles, 16.543; 26. 50-Mike Ayers, 17.228