Larson Gets ‘OK’ To Race Knoxville Nationals

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By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Being an avid sprint car racer when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is not competing, Kyle Larson made the trip to the Knoxville Nationals, a major sprint car race in Iowa, and won on Wednesday night putting him in the main show on Saturday night.

However, there was a catch. Larson had to convince Chip Ganassi, NASCAR team owner, to run on Saturday night.

“I’ve definitely got to have the conversation with him for sure,” Larson told the crowd at Knoxville on Wednesday. “Listen, I want to so bad. I’ve never been this good in a sprint car in my career. I’m nervous about the phone call. Hopefully, (Chip) is listening and knows how much I appreciate everything he allows me to do racing sprint cars.

On Friday, Ganassi and Larson went to social media to confirm that he will allow Larson to race on Saturday night.

Larson was able to talk to Ganassi about racing on Saturday on the way to the airport after the Chevrolet unveil of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series body in Detroit on Thursday.

“I didn’t know he was going to be in Detroit with for the unveiling of the 2018 Chevy Camero ZL1. I rode back with him to the airport and we talked about it a little bit. He voiced his concerns about it. I feel like Steve Lauletta and John Olguin at our race shop has the most impact on being able to run. Ultimately, it’s all Chip’s decision,” said Larson.

Larson’s contract states that a certain number of races that he can participate in outside of the NASCAR circuit. Larson told reporters on Friday that was not the issue.

“I can run 25. I have 24 on my schedule. I kept some open to go to New Zealand and race. With running Knoxville on Saturday and no rainouts, I will hit my max by December 31st,” said Larson. “My deal with Chip is that I can’t race a sprint car, midget, or anything really the night before I am on track. I have to have an off day. I think it’s fair. I get to run a lot of races so I am thankful for Chip to allow me to do what I get to do right now. It’s nice that he is making an exception on Saturday night.”

Larson will start ninth in the Knoxville Nationals.


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