NASCAR's Kyle Larson returns to Placerville for World of Outlaws event Wednesday nightBy: Bill Sullivan of the Telegraph
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson is set to return to the race track he still calls home on Wednesday March 23 at nearby Placerville Speedway at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
The Elk Grove native will pilot a midget and a winged sprint car in the nationally recognized Placerville Short Track Showdown featuring the World of Outlaws and United States Auto Club sanctioning bodies for a special weeknight event.
“This has always been one of my favorite tracks,” said Larson. “I started racing sprint cars here; I got my very first win here. It’s pretty much home for me.”
Larson is now in his second full year of competing in NASCAR Sprint Cup action. Growing up in Elk Grove, the 23-year-old began his racing career in quarter midgets and outlaw carts at various small tracks in the area before he advanced to full-sized sprint cars at Placerville Speedway.
In 2007, Larson became the youngest driver to win at the quarter-mile clay oval in the foothills at just 14 years old. Thereafter, his career continued to flourish as he rapidly transformed from being a weekend warrior to a career race car driver, winning numerous prestigious events on dirt before moving to asphalt where he claimed a NASCAR Regional championship in his first season. At the peak of his early career success, Larson then signed with veteran team owner Chip Ganassi to compete at the sport’s highest level.
For Larson, racing for a lucrative living is a dream come true. At the same time, during his busy schedule of traveling the nation, he often finds himself missing the days when he was tearing up the dirt tracks that were located within an hour of his parent’s home in Elk Grove. With the famed World of Outlaws tour competing on a Wednesday night and the NASCAR tour in the California region, the stars have aligned for Larson to return home in what will be the biggest racing event of the year at the track that is still one of his favorites despite his time at tracks like Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte and more.
“Placerville is such a fun little race track,” added Larson. “The track is fast with usually two grooves and I am really excited to come back and see a lot of familiar faces in the pit area and hopefully put on a good show for the fans.”
At this time, Wednesday’s event is the only Northern California event that Larson is scheduled to compete in during his busy schedule. Clearly one of the fan favorites to claim the $10,000 victory, Larson will be joined by the top dirt track drivers in the nation as well as a two additional drivers that now compete nationally and have roots at Placerville Speedway. Rico Abreu of St. Helena, who competes in the NASCAR Truck Series full time has announced his plans to compete, as well as Bryan Clauson of Indiana. Clauson is a native of Sacramento that has won numerous high-profile open wheel races on dirt and asphalt. Clauson has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has twice competed in the Indianapolis 500. As a young child, Clauson watched his father, Tim, drive to victory lane at Placerville Speedway on many Saturday nights during the early 90s before the family relocated to Indiana to focus on Bryan’s young driving career.
Wednesday’s event is the first of the new season at Placerville Speedway and is set to begin at 7 p.m. for qualifying. Seating for the event is reserved and information can be found at www.placervillespeedway.com or www.worldofoutlaws.com.