Saturday, April 1, 2023

Kyle Larson Charges from 22nd to 5th on Thursday at Knoxville Nationals

Kyle Larson's car before hot laps on Thursday at the Knoxville Nationals
Kyle Larson’s car before hot laps on Thursday at the Knoxville Nationals. Photo courtesy of Christopher DeHarde/

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — After finishing second in the Thursday night B-Main at the Knoxville Nationals, Kyle Larson had a large mountain of sprint cars in front of him in the A-Main.

Starting 22nd in the No. 57 machine, Larson had to pass a lot of cars in order to gain enough points in the Knoxville Nationals points system to lock himself into Saturday night’s main event.

The Elk Grove, CA native moved fast, climbing into 10th place by Lap 7 of 25. Three laps later, the defending Knoxville Nationals champion was in sixth.

Larson caught polesitter Zeb Wise for fifth with four laps to go and got the position as the top four were out of reach.

Jacob Allen won the feature over Brad Sweet, Carson Macedo and Austin McCarl. McCarl earned enough points to qualify on pole position for Saturday’s $175,000 to win main event. Larson’s finish slotted him into sixth starting position for Saturday’s A-Main.

Larson set the seventh-fastest time in qualifying to start the evening strong. However, the Knoxville heat invert format put him seventh for his heat. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion could do no better than seventh, sending him to the B-Main. Larson started fifth in that race.

“In the B-Main I felt like we made a bit of gains on them,” Larson said. “And in the feature I was able to get a really good start and the track finally opened up and you could get racing and making moves. I’m surprised that I got up as far as I did. I knew I had passed quite a few cars but I was trying to just see where I was.

“Thankfully I could see Carson (Macedo) in front of me and I saw he got like fourth or something on the board so I knew I was close to the top five so I’m happy to get to the top five and lock in for Saturday.”

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