WoO: Larson leaves NASCAR quals to go win an Outlaws feature

Kyle Larson has said for years that Thunderbowl Raceway is his favorite track. He further proved that this weekend by pulling out all the stops to make sure he competed in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series return to the Tulare, CA facility.

The 29-year-old Elk Grove, CA native hadn’t raced at the technical 1/3-mile since his memorable Trophy Cup title in 2013 and was extra motivated to make it happen with his NASCAR Cup Series obligations only 500 miles away at Phoenix Raceway this weekend.

After starting sixth, Larson drove by Brad Sweet, both Scelzi’s, Eliason, and Bayston to take the lead by Lap 19 and then run off with his 25th career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Feature win.

It marked his first Sprint Car triumph of the 2022 season and added Kevin Kozlowski to the record books with his first-career World of Outlaws win as a car owner of the Finley Farms, HendrickCars.com, JVI Group #57.

The victory made it a clean sweep of the weekend at Tulare by California natives with Fresno’s Giovanni Scelzi winning on Friday. For Larson, it was his first World of Outlaws triumph at the Thunderbowl and brings him to five Series wins inside his home state.

(L to R) Brad Sweet (2nd), Kyle Larson (1st) and David Gravel (3rd)

“Central California fans are some of the best in the country,” Larson told a nearly sold-out crowd at Tulare. “I always love getting to race in front of these people, especially at places I grew up at. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but it was technical and kind of old school the way I remember Tulare.  This is amazing. I owe a huge thank you to Jason Finley, Kevin Kozlowski, Paul Silva, Cliff Daniels, a lot of people who made this weekend happen. We’ve still got one more win to chase tomorrow.”

Following the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion to the checkered flag was none other than his brother-in-law, Brad Sweet. The Big Cat put together a season-best second-place finish on Saturday in the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49. The Grass Valley, CA native remains winless at Tulare, but the three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion believes they’re trending upward as the California swing continues.

“It was fun to be back,” Sweet said after a three-year hiatus from the Thunderbowl ended this weekend. “It’s especially fun to race against Kyle because he really makes everyone step up and elevate our game to another level. I don’t know how many realize the things he can do in a race car is amazing. I was searching around trying to make something happen when I caught clean air with him ahead, but just couldn’t make up enough ground.”

Kyle Larson’s 25th career World of Outlaws victory (in his 114th start) moves him beyond Ron Shuman & Sheldon Haudenschild into sole possession of 25th on the All-Time Wins List. Larson also reached 50 career podium finishes on Saturday night, making him only the 41st driver in Series history to do so.

Race Results

Pos. Start No. Driver Hometown Behind
1 6 57 Kyle Larson Elk Grove, CA -0.000
2 5 49 Brad Sweet Grass Valley, CA -1.548
3 9 2 David Gravel Watertown, CT -3.158
4 1 5 Spencer Bayston Lebanon, IN -3.532
5 14 24 Rico Abreu St. Helena, CA -6.336
6 2 26 Cory Eliason Visalia, CA -6.795
7 3 41S Dominic Scelzi Fresno, CA -7.520
8 12 41 Carson Macedo Lemoore, CA -7.912
9 4 18 Giovanni Scelzi Fresno, CA -7.992
10 21 17 Sheldon Haudenschild Wooster, OH -8.845
11 13 21 Mitchell Faccinto Hanford, CA -10.599
12 23 1S Logan Schuchart Hanover, PA -10.996
13 16 88 Austin McCarl Altoona, IA -11.407
14 17 17W Shane Golobic Fremont, CA -12.217
15 11 83 James McFadden Alice Springs, NT -12.727
16 7 1A Jacob Allen Hanover, PA -13.495
17 15 3Z Brock Zearfoss Jonestown, PA -13.788
18 10 57W Tyler Courtney Indianapolis, IN -14.986
19 24 19AZ Tanner Thorson Minden, NV -15.176
20 18 11K Kraig Kinser Bloomington, IN -16.036
21 19 83T Tanner Carrick Lincoln, CA -16.606
22 25 20G Noah Gass Mounds, OK DNF
23 8 16A Colby Copeland Roseville, CA DNF
24 22 15 Donny Schatz Fargo, ND DNF
25 20 83JR Kerry Madsen Knoxville, IA DNF
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