He’s won five points-paying NASCAR Cup Series races including the Coca-Cola 600. He earned $1 million in the NASCAR All-Star Race. He has won two of the three biggest Sprint Car races held this season. He won the Chili Bowl Nationals. He has won multiple Dirt Late Model features including the crown jewel Prairie Dirt Classic.
Surely the driver to have accomplished all of these things has no faults, right?
Kyle Larson has been the talk of the motorsports world in 2021. But even with all of his accomplishments this season, the Elk Grove, California driver admits that he doesn’t do everything perfectly. This past weekend saw Larson win a World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series feature race at Ohio’s Sharon Speedway then drive to a third-place result in NASCAR’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
After his WoO Late Models win at Sharon, Larson admitted that he does not yet feel as if he has fully developed as a Dirt Late Model driver following the limited number of starts he has made in that form of racing. However, he believes the owner/crew chief of his K&L Rumley No. 6 Longhorn Chassis machine has been able to make up for the driver’s relative inexperience.
“I’m not the greatest yet at running the top(groove) in these things, it’s pretty difficult,” Larson told DirtVision.com in his victory lane interview. “They’re hard to manhandle up there. Hats off to Kevin Rumley and everybody who has to work on this thing. It’s been enjoyable to come and run these Late Model races and to come to a track I’ve had a lot of laps on in a Sprint Car. You kind of get a different track than I’ve been on here. It’s a lot of grip compared to normal, this place is usually really slick.”
The 29-year-old driver went on to say that he and Rumley have meshed so well during their short time together because of how the pair let each other do their own job. He further went on to add that his own lack of mechanical knowledge may actually serve to benefit those who work on his race cars.
“I think he’d be good with anybody, but I’m easy going,” the driver known as ‘Yung Money’ declared. “I don’t know anything about race cars, especially Dirt Late Models, so he can kind of just do his thing and watch it go around the track and make his adjustments that way. Maybe because I am so new and fresh and don’t have an opinion on things, not that I ever have an opinion on anything anyways, but just being fresh and green, you can learn together. It’s been a good year or so in this Late Model. This is like my nineteenth or twentieth race that I’ve ran and I enjoy them a lot. It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to the rest of the year.”
The following day at MIS, the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet led much of the race but ultimately finished third in the NASCAR Cup Series race. While that result did earn enough points for Larson to build on his lead in the standings with one race remaining in the regular season, he would have obviously liked to score his sixth win.
The driver who sat out much of the 2020 NASCAR season due to a suspension, pointed out his own late race mistakes during his post-race interview with NBC.
“Just made a couple bad moves, I guess,” he stated. “I think honestly just a little too patient behind the 12(eventual winner Ryan Blaney). Could have made some later, you know, dives I guess to the inside. Who knows. I need to watch the replay. Just made a couple wrong moves, allowed William(Byron) to get by me. Once I was in third, I hoped they would get racing, get side drafted.”
Perhaps the lesson from this past weekend that might be most concerning to the competition is that Kyle Larson could potentially get even better as an all-around race car driver.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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