Kyle Larson narrowly defeats 16-year-old Ryan Timms in World of Outlaws Sprint Car Gold Cup prelim

Larson Timms Outlaws Sprint
Trent Gower / World of Outlaws

The 30-year-old driver known as “Yung Money” in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series had a much younger challenger Thursday in a preliminary feature for the Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. as Kyle Larson held off a charge by 16-year-old Ryan Timms.

Timms already became the youngest competitor when he finished second to Carson Macedo in late August, 21 days after his 16th birthday. That is the minimum age to compete in the Outlaws Sprint Car series. Timms was making only his second start in the series. On that night in West Fargo, N.D., he failed to lead any laps, but finishing ahead of championship leader Brad Sweet raised a few eyebrows.

Thursday night, he earned the attention of Larson.

“He is really, really good,” Larson said of Timms in a release. “I know most of these young kids nowadays can rip a cushion like that. I saw him on the front row of the lineup and figured he would be a tough guy to beat tonight. It was crazy coming through the pack. I think if he hit those restarts a little better it was his to win.

“I knew my only opportunity was going to come if Ryan didn’t get a great launch on the restart. I knew that I would have to slide across quicker that second time, and thankfully it stuck. This place was awesome tonight, it was treacherous. It made sliders really sketchy and you’d be off the throttle sliding across super-fast. It felt great when I hit it right, but it was tricky every single corner.”

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Timms led at Chico. In fact, he led more than half the race and had to retake the lead twice in the 30-lap affair on the quarter-mile dirt track. After losing the lead to Larson on Lap 14, he regained it on Lap 17 and seemed to be cruising to Victory Lane until a late caution bunched the field.

Similarities between the two drivers are not hard to find. Larson gained the moniker “Yung Money” when he burst onto the scene after running in regional series on the West Coast and it didn’t take long for him to challenge the established racers. But Larson’s rise was not quite as meteoric as Timms. Larson failed to advance to an A-Main in his first five starts and finished 24th in his inaugural race in 2008. Timms was ninth in his first race.

The second-place finish Thursday night locks Timms into Saturday’s $25,000-to-win finale. Should he win that race, he will be the youngest winner in series’ history.

“I really thought when he slid me and I got around him that it was my break,” Timms said on an earlier restart when he beat Larson. “It seemed like it was just better to be in second than first in some way tonight, so you could attack differently. It stings, but losing to him isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s a lot better than I expected, really.”

Rounding out the podium was James McFadden. That result does not lock him into the finale, but it will provide him with a front row start in his heat race on Saturday.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III