‘California Kid’ Larson scores NASCAR sweep, rolls into Placerville tonightBy: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
Local favorite Kyle Larson made history this past weekend, scoring duel victories at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson won first claimed victory on Saturday in NASCAR Xfinity Series which set the stage for his drive to victory on Sunday in the Monster Energy Series. The weekend sweep was a career first for Larson and a first in the history of his Chip Ganassi racing team.
Now, the 24-year-old Elk Grove native looks to continue his win streak locally, returning to nearby Placerville Speedway tonight where he began his racing career with his first win in 2010. Larson will be competing at Placerville Speedway at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds with the nationally recognized World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series..
After three consecutive second place finishes, Larson took the checkered flag at the end of the overtime lap in the Auto Club 400. The win extends his series point lead to 29 points in the Monster Energy series just as he returns to his roots of dirt track racing here tonight.
"It’s great to be Kyle Larson right now," said Larson, following Sunday’s win.
Larson, who led a race-high 110 laps, kept his cool through numerous cautions and restarts over the final 21 laps, giving up the lead to pit for fresh tires on Lap 193 of a planned 200, as Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray stayed on the track.
"I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time," Larson said of the late-race stops and starts. "It seems like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, the caution comes out and I’ve got to fight people off on restarts.”
Despite the frustration and pressure to overcome his bridesmaid blues, Larson quickly surged back to the front after a Lap 196 restart, passing Hamlin for the top spot through Turn 2 a lap later and holding it through the overtime
"I had to fight them off there after the green flag stops (before the final caution), and that was a lot of fun. This is just amazing. We’ve been so good all year long, three seconds in a row. I’ve been watching all the TV like ‘He doesn’t know how to win,’ but we knew how to win today, so that was good."
Brad Keslowski finished second to Larson over Clint Bowyer, posting his best finish since June 2015 at Sonoma, where he also came home third.
Tonight, Larson takes to the track with some of the best sprint car drivers in the world at Placerville Speedway. Gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying starting at 6:30 followed by racing at 7. All seating is reserved. For ticket information visit www.placervillespeedway.com