LARSON SET FOR 4-CROWN REPEAT?
Kyle Larson has shown no signs of letting down after sweeping last year’s “4-Crown Nationals” at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Saturday, the Elk Grove, Calif. phenom will try to repeat his 2011 success at Tony Stewart’s half-mile dirt oval – and he’ll pilot one of Stewart’s cars in the TRAXXAS Silver Crown division!
Larson will drive the #10 Chevrolet Performance/Curb Records Maxim/Kistler entered by Stewart and Curb-Agajanian Racing and recently vacated by defending series champion Levi Jones, who had season-ending neck surgery August 28.
Larson will also pilot the #69 Mean Green/Mopar Dynamics, Inc. Chalk/Stanton Mopar in the AMSOIL Sprint race and the Toyota TRD Keith Kunz Motorsports Bullet/Speedway Toyota in the Mopar Midget race. Larson scored “4-Crown” wins in both the Dynamcs and Kunz cars last year.
Competing in a Saturday NASCAR race in New Hampshire will offer some logistical challenges for Larson, but he plans to fly to Eldora for Saturday night’s events. Other drivers are standing by to warm-up and qualify each of his three cars if needed.
The only other time a driver swept all three USAC “4-Crown” open-wheel races was in 1998 when Jack Hewitt remarkably won all four legs of the annual classic. That included a victory in the late model portion as well.
In 1999 Hewitt returned to try for a repeat but he was unsuccessful, finishing second in the Silver Crown race to Jimmy Sills and eighth in the Midget race. He failed to start the Sprint race, finishing last in the semi.
So far this season the 20-year-old Larson has 22 feature victories in various forms of motorsports. On January 10 he kicked off the season by winning the opening-night Chili Bowl Midget prelim in Tulsa, Okla. He followed with the following wins: Feb. 11 (New Smyrna, FL Super Late Models), Feb. 18 (New Smyrna World Series of Stock Car Racing), April 26 (Flora, Ill Sprints), May 4 (Dodge City, Kans. USAC Midgets), May 6 (Kokomo, IN Sprints), May 11 (Tulare, Calif. winged and non-winged Sprints), May 12 (Tulare non-winged Sprints), May 16 (Millbridge, NC Outlaw Karts), June 9 (Jefferson, Ga. K & N Pro Series East Stocks), June 17 (Kokomo, IN USAC Indiana Midget Week and non-winged Sprints), June 24 St. Clairsville, OH winged Sprints), June 25 (Orrville, Ohio winged Sprints), July 29 (Osborn, Mo. Midgets), August 6 (Oskaloosa, Ia. USAC Sprints), August 7 (Oskaloosa, Ia. USAC Sprints), August 8 (Knoxville, Ia. Winged Sprints and Knoxville Nationals “Rookie of the Year”), September 5 (Chico, Calif. 360 Sprints and USAC Western Classic Sprints) and the September 8 (Chico, Calif. World of Outlaws Gold Cup Sprints).
He also threw in a NASCAR Truck Series debut at Sparta, Ky. which resulted in a creditable 10th-place finish, then came back with a sixth at Atlanta, Ga. later.
Last year’s “4-Crown” sweep came in his first driving appearance at the Eldora oval! It remains to be seen if he can provide fans a repeat performance.
“I’m really excited about returning to Eldora,” says Larson. I think I’ve got three really good cars and if I start up front I’ll have a pretty good chance at winning. Even though I had never run Eldora before last year I had an idea I might be able to pick off a win or two with the cars I had. To win all three was a dream come true, for sure. The track is a lot of fun, being able to run right up on the wall. It’s a really racey track but it can wear on your nerves too. If the cars are good you can move up and challenge for the wins.”