Kyle Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series title after an amazing season back in 2021 and is currently in contention to repeat that feat as the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs wind toward a conclusion. Even with that, there is another type of championship the 31-year-old racer from Elk Grove, California has long coveted. And on Tuesday night, that ambition was finally realized.
Just last year, Larson and his brother-in-law, four-time and defending World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champion Brad Sweet, formed the High Limit Sprint Car Series. The tour, which would feature midweek races held across the country aired live by FloRacing.com, was meant to provide drivers and teams in that form of dirt racing competition a chance to race for significant individual race purses while at the same time pursuing a national touring series crown.
Due to their already rigorous schedule and limitations placed on them in terms of the number of times they are allowed to compete off of the series, World of Outlaws regulars would only be allowed to enter a limited number of the High Limit events. As a result, those drivers who do not race on an full time basis with the Outlaws would have the opportunity to race for a championship of their own.
The new series, which could boast that the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion and former winner of the Knoxville Nationals and the Kings Royal would enter every race, had a successful inaugural season which wrapped up on Tuesday evening at the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.
The championship battle came down to Larson, who entered the finale with a 15 point lead in the standings, and highly successful Sprint Car ace Rico Abreu.
Larson had only to finish sixth or better in the 40-lap feature race at Lincoln Park and he would secure the series championship no matter what Abreu did in the race. After starting from the seventh position, Larson ultimately worked his way up to second but would eventually come home third behind Abreu and Tyler ‘Sunshine’ Courtney.
Larson’s night was not necessarily and walk in the park as he narrowly missed an incident following a lap 26 restart when three cars piled up right in front of his No. 57 Paul Silva Motorsports machine.
“I wasn’t that good where we were running, seventh or sixth, there for a while,” Larson explained in his post-race interview with FloRacing.com. “The pace was a little bit slow and I couldn’t get the load in the car that I needed. I was able to dodge that wreck in three and four and that gave us some track position and then Sunshine and Kerry(Madsen) got together and we were able to get to second then I could air it out a little better and was able to close in on Rico a good bit.”
Larson pulled alongside Abreu with three laps remaining but was unable to complete the pass for the lead eventually losing second to Courtney in the end. Abreu ended the series with four wins compared to Larson’s three triumphs.
“I tried to pull the trigger a little too soon,” Larson pointed out. “I showed my nose in one and he got going up on top. I was okay with that, I didn’t really want to get battling, especially with the line I was running in three and four it was easy to make mistakes. I knew I was comfortable where I was at to win the overall championship. It was going to be tough to get by him. I was trying, don’t get me wrong, I was trying but I just pulled the trigger a little to soon.”
While this was the first national touring series championship Larson had won in a Sprint Car, he did earn a title with the western-based Northern Auto Racing Club in 2010.
“I don’t ever get the opportunity to race for points in Sprint Cars,” the driver known as ‘Yung Money’ stated. “I was thankfully able to win a NARC championship in 2010 with the Kaedings and really haven’t gotten to chase points ever since then in dirt stuff.”
The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet in NASCAR insisted that the competition he had to face with the High Limit Series was tough with not only the regulars but also from those World of Outlaws and regional competitors who made it to some of the races.
“Although it was a short series, I think eleven races, it still was intense,” he recalled. “I think when it’s a short season like that you’ve really got to be on your game and can’t make mistakes, especially when you’re battling guys like Rico who are up front every night no matter what track or what style of track or what series, they’re going to be hard to beat. It feels good.”
Abreu pushed Larson to the very end, only losing out by seven points after making a late push.
“He had some issues at Lakeside with a flat or something and that ultimately took him out, but still, we had to be on our game,” Larson said. “He was chipping away at it the last five or six races. It was a fun battle and cool to win the inaugural one. Hopefully I can get the chance to keep doing this and my schedule works out so that I can make all these midweek races work and try to get another one next year.”
As co-owner of the series, Larson believes things went as well as could have been expected.
“I think we got better as the season went on. I think we got more efficient, for sure. We’ve gotten better as the year has gone on. We definitely had our hiccups, as any new company would in their first year. Overall, I think we’ve excelled and exceeded at least my expectations. Brad is a perfectionist and you always want to do better. We’ve just got to continue to get better, that’s the goal.”
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