Kyle Larson takes lead in World of Outlaws victories on thrilling pass

Kyle Larson Outlaws victories
Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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With an impressive pass out of the last corner, Kyle Larson emphatically seized the lead in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Series victories this season.

Larson scored his eighth victory Friday night by scooting past points leader Logan Schuchart off the final turn of the 40-lap feature at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

“I knew he was going to have to make a decision going into (Turn) three and hoped he wasn’t going to run the cushion,” Larson said. “I knew that would be my only shot. I was just able to time the run good and clear him off of (Turn) four here.

“That was definitely an exciting one. It’s been fun to win a lot. I hope we keep it going.”

After leading the first 36 laps, Larson was bumped out of the lead by contact with Schuchart. Gathering up his No. 57 after briefly skidding through the infield, Larson caught Schuchart with a burst taking the white flag and then set up the winning move on the quarter-mile track.

“I felt contact into (Turn) three,” said Larson, who was making his debut at the track and with his first race at North Dakota. “I wasn’t sure if it was a lapper because I came across. But thank God I was able to keep it straight. I knew there wasn’t many laps left. Had to get up on the wheel there.

“The Outlaws is as tough as it gets for Sprint Car racing throughout the world. To come in here and be as strong as we have all year long and get a lot of wins, it’s been a lot of fun. We need to keep getting our stuff better, because everyone is chasing us and getting their stuff better each race.”

Kyle Larson celebrates after his season-best eighth victory in the World of Outlaws (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

Larson, who also won twice last week at Knoxville Raceway in capturing The One and Only, has more than 30 victories this year in dirt racing, which he has focused on while on suspension from NASCAR (which he discussed in an interview with Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer this week). He picked up $10,000 in Friday’s victory for Silva Motorsports.

Schuchart was in second for much of the race at a significant deficit but took advantage of traffic with five laps remaining to catch Larson.

“It is just tough when you’re behind a guy like that,” said Schuchart, who leads Brad Sweet (who also is second in series victories with seven) by 24 points. “Kyle doesn’t make any mistakes. He’s tough. I had one shot right there. I felt like I could get through (Turns) 1 and 2 a little bit better at times and catch him.

“I felt like I had one shot there. I was getting close and had a really good run into (Turn) three when he cut to the bottom and I was trying to back off and go to the outside of him and caught his back bumper. He just drove a little bit better than I did and got the job done.”

Larson will race again with the World of Outlaws tonight in Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals

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In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.