Editorial: Kyle Larson’s Amazing 2020 Run After His NASCAR Departure

Kyle Larson is a phenomenal driver. Period! We’re not here to debate whether he is a good person or not, and I am completely positive that motorsports journalists should not be the moral compass for anyone’s character. Many times we think we have the right to declare who is decent and who is not – but in full honesty, all we are qualified to do is gauge how proficient or skilled a driver is. We’ll let the social justice warriors battle out the good vs. evil qualities of a person.

Having said that, we are here to focus on Kyle Larson’s season, particularly the dirt track portion after his suspension from NASCAR. In case you’ve been living under a rock, NASCAR suspended Larson indefinitely violating its code of conduct policy – no judgment here, that is just a fact.

June 13,2020 at Knoxville. Photo from worldofoutlaws.com.

Post NASCAR

The young driver immediately went back to what he was most comfortable with, open-wheel dirt track racing. It was natural for him. After all, he began racing outlaw karts in Northern California at the tender age of seven. He began racing the prestigious USAC Midgets, Silver Crown, and USAC Sprint Cars as a teen. Before long, Larson was competing in top-notch teams with Toyota backing for Keith Kunz Motorsports and Hoffman Racing.

His list of accomplishments includes winning the 2011 Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway. Larson not only won the title, but he also dominated by winning in all three types of USAC cars in a single night – becoming only the second driver in the events long history to accomplish the feat. He has also won the Turkey Night Grand Prix and Chili Bowl Nationals, two of the most iconic annual Midget racing events in dirt track history.

So it is fair to say that Kyle was expected to do well upon his full-time return to dirt, where most dirt oval fans eagerly awaited his presence. The only question in people’s minds centered around how he would react to being fired from a team that he was very loyal to?

Larson and crew on May 23, 2020. Photo from worldofoutlaws.com.

What Happened?

No one had to wait very long for an answer. His first race back was on May 8 at Knoxville Raceway, a half-mile oval that bills itself as the “Sprint Car Capital of the World.” Larson started 18th in the 410 Winged Sprint Car feature and raced his way to a 10th place finish. Two weeks later at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, he set a qualifying lap time that was the first sub-ten-second time in the track’s history. Finishing second to his brother-in-law (Brad Sweet), he went on to win the next night’s feature on the same track. Since that win, Larson has been on a tear, winning everything in sight, including Pennsylvania’s Speedweek Championship for 410 Sprint Cars.

After his release from NASCAR, Larson has competed in 31 Races (25 in 410 Winged Sprint. 6 in Midget). He has won 15 of those events (11 in 410 Winged Sprint. 4 in Midget) for an incredible 48.3-percent win rate. Almost half of the races he has entered at an elite level in open-wheel racing – he has won.

If that record sounds too good to be true, consider what he has done since June 1st. To date (9 July 2020), he has raced in 25 races since June 1st (19 in 410 Winged Sprints and 6 in Midgets). He has won 14 of these races (10 in 410 Winged Sprint Cars and 4 in Midgets) for an unbelievable 56-percent win ratio. 

Can we judge him as a decent driver? Yep. One of the very best.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • May 8: Knoxville Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 10th
  • May 15: Jackson Motorplex – (410 Winged Sprints) 11th
  • May 22: I-55 Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • May 23: I-55 Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • May 29: Lake Ozark Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 10th
  • May 30: Lake Ozark Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • June 5: Red Dirt Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • June 7: 81 Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • June 8: Lawton Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • June 10: Devil’s Bowl Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • June 12: Knoxville Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • June 13: Knoxville Raceway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • June 16: Paragon Speedway – (Midgets) 1st
  • June 17: Gas City I-69 Speedway – (Midgets) 1st
  • June 18: Lincoln Park Speedway – (Midgets) 1st
  • June 19: Lincoln Park Speedway – (Midgets) 2nd
  • June 20: Lawrenceburg Speedway: (Midgets) 1st
  • June 21: Kokomo Speedway – (Midgets)   2nd
  • June 24: Port Royal Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • June 26: Williams Grove Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • Jun 27: Lincoln Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 2nd
  • June 28: Selinsgrove Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 3rd
  • June 29: Lincoln Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 6th
  • June 30: Grandview Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • July 1: Port Royal Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 4th
  • July 2: Hagerstown Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • July 3: Williams Grove Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • July 4: Port Royal Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st
  • July 5: Fremont Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 4th
  • July 6: Wayne County Speedway – (410 Winged Sprints) 6th
  • July 8: Brushcreek Motorsports Complex – (410 Winged Sprints) 1st

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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