KNOXVILLE, Iowa – 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson, who won his qualifying night race in his very first Knoxville Nationals start in 2012, has officially entered the 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores.
Larson, 23, will compete in sprint car racing’s greatest race for the third time in his career. When the racing phenom won his qualifying night in his rookie year, he left the sprint car world in awe. He went on to finish 16th in Saturday’s finale and earned the event’s Rookie of the Year title.
“Getting a win at Knoxville is so big,” Larson said after his qualifying night win. “I wasn’t expecting to win. I was more hoping to finish top five or so, but I’m happy for the win.”
The following year, while racing full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), Larson again competed in the Knoxville Nationals. Larson, not locked into the finale with his qualifying night results, was forced to race in Friday’s preliminary night races.
He started the day at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for NASCAR practice then flew to Knoxville, landing with just minutes to spare before hot laps. He won the feature event that night and locked himself into his second Knoxville Nationals finale. Before that, however, he had to return to Watkins Glen to race in the NXS event on Saturday afternoon. He again flew back to Knoxville that day and charged from a 17th-place starting position to a sixth-place finish.
While the Elk Grove, Calif. native has turned his focus to earning his first Sprint Cup win and a NASCAR championship, he’s been very open about his love for sprint car racing. The Cup schedule has an off-weekend on Aug. 12-13, allowing Larson to return to sprint car racing’s biggest stage.
Larson and car owner/crew chief Paul Silva will field the white No. 57 entry he’s been racing this season in the 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores. This year, the duo have competed in eight sprint car events, earning an amazing two wins, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
In the meantime, Larson will continue to race the No. 42 Target Chevy for Chip Ganassi Racing – where, on top of his Rookie of the Year honors, he’s earned 13 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes, including four runner-up finishes.
CREDIT: Spire Sports + Ent. for Knoxville Raceway