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Disappointed Larson Hopes To Resume Magical Victory Tour in BC39 at IMS

The inaugural NASCAR Cup Series road race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway didn’t end the way Kyle Larson wanted – or deserved – but there’s always next week. Or, in this case, this week.

Larson is entered in the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink, the USAC Midget National Championship event Wednesday and Thursday on The Dirt Track at IMS, located only a short distance from where Sunday’s inaugural Verizon 200 at the Brickyard got away from him.

Cup Series points leader Larson should be one of the leading candidates to win the dirt race, in part because he has won in nearly every type of car he has wheeled over the past three months. Stock cars, winged sprint cars, late models … he seldom has been denied. And Larson, with the freshest tires among the frontrunners, arguably had the best shot to win Sunday’s race until his car got shoved into the grass exiting Turn 1 on a Lap 90 restart.

On what turned out to be the penultimate restart, Larson was on the outside of Denny Hamlin approaching the corner but got bumped deep into the braking zone by Kurt Busch. Then caught in a three-wide-squeeze approaching Turn 2, Larson’s off-track conundrum led him to fall from a look at the lead to a distant seventh place.

With the bumping and banging of Hamlin and Chase Briscoe happening ahead of him, Larson got back to third place at the finish line behind winner AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney, but that’s not what he came to IMS for in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet.

“My car was really, really good,” Larson said. “After the first stage, I could adjust it to my (preference), and the crew would look at the data and give me tips on what I needed to do in the cockpit to go faster. After that, we were by farthe fastest car.

“Things just didn’t work out there at the end.”

That happens in racing, just not to Larson lately.

In a 77-day stretch dating to Memorial Day weekend, Larson has won five points-paying Cup races, stock car racing’s million-dollar All-Star Race, two premier winged sprint car races and one of the nation’s top late model series races. He started the run by winning NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, and he hasn’t let up, winning four consecutive Cup events (three points races and the All-Star Race), including a road course race at Sonoma (California) Raceway and a new event at Nashville Superspeedway.

Larson has limited experience competing in late models, but he captured one of the richest events in the sport at Fairbury (Illinois) Speedway on July 31. Sandwiched around that were victories in sprint car racing’s crown jewels: the 38th Kings Royal at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway and the 60th Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, paying better than $175,000 each.

Larson won Saturday night at Knoxville, then flew back to IMS in a private plane loaned to him by Hamlin. Little did either know they would be side-by-side for the lead when Busch pushed Larson too deep into Turn 1.

“I was obviously frustrated going from the front row and getting run through the grass and stuff, but that’s kind of the way it works sometimes on road courses, especially when you have a tight Turn 1 and a wide braking zone,” Larson said. “I was just on the wrong end of the stick there.

“You hate it, but we had a really fast car today, and I’m proud of that.”

Larson said he would be home for a couple of days before returning to Indianapolis on Wednesday for practice, heat races and the preliminary feature for the BC39. Then he’ll try to win the main event Thursday night. Tickets remain on sale at IMS.com.

“Come back and try to win a midget race,” he said, smiling.

Larson’s Three Months of Winning

  • May 30: Won the Cup Series’ race at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the pole
  • June 6: Won the Cup Series’ road race at Sonoma (California) Raceway from the pole
  • June 13: Won the Cup Series’ $1 million All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway
  • June 20: Won the Cup Series’ race at Nashville Superspeedway
  • July 17: Won the $175,000 Kings Royal winged sprint car race at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway
  • July 31: Won the $50,000 Prairie Dirt Classic late models race in Fairbury (Illinois) Speedway
  • Aug. 8: Won the Cup Series’ road race at Watkins Glen (New York) International
  • Saturday: Won the $176,000 Knoxville Nationals winged sprint car race
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