It goes without saying that Kyle Larson is one of the top racers in the world. And on Tuesday night at Attica Raceway Park, he again showed the prowess that has caused such accolades to be bestowed on him.
So it would seem to make sense to assume that when Larson speaks, young racers will listen. In victory lane on Tuesday night at Ohio’s Attica Raceway Park, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion pointed to another driver who he believes all racers should seek to emulate.
The soon to be 30-year-old driver from Elk Grove, California made a strong move prior to the halfway mark of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series-sanctioned Brad Doty Classic to take the lead away from defending series champion Brad Sweet. Soon after, ‘Yung Money’ then had to fight off a late race challenge from 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz before going on to win.
Following the race, Larson had only good things to say about Schatz. And further, he hoped his words would reach the ears of young drivers coming up through the ranks of racing.
“I found that top there a couple of laps before that caution,” Larson explained during his post-race interview. “He(Sweet) was protecting the bottom on the restart so I felt like I could carry my momentum off of there. I felt really good. When I got to traffic it was hard to see. I could see Donny was running the bottom in one and two but I wasn’t quite sure where he would be in three and four, I was kind of struggling when I caught Cap(Henry).”
Larson then credited Schatz for the driving style that has led to the Fargo, ND driver to numerous championships and feature triumphs.
Larson also called upon drivers in the Midget ranks to take heed as he recounted the final laps of the race named in honor of the Sprint Car legend.
“I missed the bottom a little bit and I knew Donny was right there,” he said. “Thankfully, Donny is the cleanest racer in the world. You can always trust him when you’re racing with him. I don’t know if there’s a lot of Midget guys watching right now since there’s a USAC race going on, but if they are, take notes off of Donny Schatz because he’s as clean as it gets. A lot of people have lost respect in the Midget stuff so take notes from that guy.”
For his part, Schatz wasn’t sure what effect Larson’s words would have. The veteran racer pointed out that it is each driver’s responsibility to develop his/her own style.
“When did everybody start listening?” Schatz joked. “I don’t know that that’s ever going to happen. Everybody has their own characteristics in racing. I’ve been around a long time and I think everybody knows I’m not that way and I’m not about to be that way so it’s just the way I was brought up, the way I was raised, and I’m proud of that fact so I’m going to stay that way. I guess I’m going to end that way and if it bites me, it bites me, but it’s going to be my forte.”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will be in action the remainder of the week at Eldora Speedway leading to the King’s Royal.
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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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